Reading time: 3 minutes
Those of you who know me know I’m always catching some big fish. Whether it is personal or professional. Whether it is my big fish or one of my clients’ in an executive Coaching trajectory. Setting goals and working towards it. Result-oriented.
Yet one the most frequent issues we are dealing with is how to enjoy the present. How to BE in the current moment and not in the next one already. How to nót sacrifice the present in order to pursue our future goals. And then there are busy schedules. Lots of responsibilities. Juggling work and life. All contributing to this one thing: we let the present slip away without enjoying it as much as we’d want to. And we all agree it is important. Living in the moment. Enjoying the little things. It even contributes to your overall happiness and self-esteem.
But how? If it were easy, everyone would do it. Right?
Let’s take an example. Most of us have upcoming holidays (if not yet). We are dreaming about that trip to the south or elsewhere. Longing to be there already. Working busy schedules because if not now, then when? Before you know it’s September and business must go on. Sowing now to harvest after the summer. Or finishing some deadlines before we will be able to “really” enjoy a well deserved holiday. True? Yet when we àre on holiday, we’ll probably check emails, online reporting, think about our future business strategy (now there is time to do that), follow what’s moving on social media and potentially even attend one or more work related conference calls. I’m not judging. I’ll probably do exactly the same. Long live the mobile technology.
Ellen Langer, author of the in 1989 published book “Mindfulness” goes one step further. She believes that when people are not in the moment, they are not there to know that they are not there. So if you are reading this and thinking “yes, this is an issue for me” you already took the first step if you ask me. Time for some real change?
Although I’m referring to the book Mindfulness, I’m not much of a meditator myself. I am too impatient I guess to really sit and stop everything on a structural basis. Not that I don’t believe all the positive consequences it is bringing individuals as well as organizations. And maybe the firm believer amongst you will succeed to convince me in the future. I’m just being honest here. But that doesn’t mean I want to let my life go by without really living it.
On the contrary. When I was 18, one of my best friends died from cancer. Very quick. We started our first year at university together. She wasn’t there to live by the end of that year. From then on I promised her and myself I would enjoy every single moment. All those moments she would be missing I would live for two. And I do, believe me. But to be honest, being happy instead of becoming happy – by living in the moment – didn’t come until years later.
One of the most important things I learned is to BE where you are. We are often remembering the past, whether it were happy or unhappy times. Or we are longing for that vacation, and worrying about things that might happen in the future. It’s always about the past or the future. But what about NOW? This very moment. You reading these black letters on a white background.
On the other hand we are all men or women with dreams and believes. Big plans. And of course some worries. But isn’t that normal? Let me reassure you. It is.
So how can we work towards catching that big fish without skipping the present? Someone once told me this seemingly simple yet for me eye-opening story. Let’s imagine climbing a mountain. Goal: reaching the top. On our way to the top the views are magnificent. Yet we are so focused on our goal that we forget to look around. What a waste of happiness.
With that mountain metaphor in mind, I want to give you five simple tips for living in the moment. I’m not saying I am doing all of this. But I am very much aware. And looking forward to hear your thoughts and experiences.
1. To get what (or where) you want, let go. Don’t overthink but build on your strengths to reach your goals. Believe you can and you are halfway there. Find your flow and enjoy every step of the way.
2. Know there is a time for everything. And accept that not everything is under control. You are always exactly where you need to be right now. Even if it doesn’t feel that way.
3. Do less and don’t multitask. If you climb a mountain, climb a mountain. If you drink coffee, drink coffee. If you talk to someone, listen. Really listen. Whatever you do, use all your senses. BE there.
4. Take a break. In business as well as in personal life, don’t overschedule. Be realistic in your planning. Leave some space between appointments to keep up, to rest and refill your batteries.
5. Smile, show kindness and be grateful. Did you know that even a fake smile creates some instant happiness? So think about how far you’ve come. Be grateful for the great views. And help those around you wherever you can.
And let me ask you, please don’t rush. Look around. The top is not your only destination. You are already right there where you need to be. For now.
Thank you for joining the conversation on LinkedIn
Sofie Varrewaere is the founder of BigFish4.me. After studying a Master in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences, she ogled into the magical world of Recruitment, Selection and HR Services. Working for the world leader in HR, she has always been in an advisory role in relation to the larger goals of several multinational organizations. In 2013 she started her own company in International executive Coaching. Doing what she is good at, challenging others as well as herself.