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Leadership Lessons—Being in the Moment

I don’t think that I’ve ever been that good at “being in the moment.” Mary Kay has helped me with this. This is, however, something that a leader must become very good at and is a learning process for me. This past weekend I set out to prove to myself that I can actually do this.
Five years ago, I learned something that I need to do better as a dad. At my men’s group, we discussed the importance of a father to have special times, at least once a year, with their grown sons. I took this to heart and started a yearly event with my two sons and my son-in-law. We go for a golf weekend – 36 holes on Thursday, 18 on Friday, 36 on Saturday and 18 more on Sunday before everyone flies home. Amid the golf, I try to impart important life lessons to them.

Even though I use vacation time, I’ve tried to get up early each morning and do an hour’s worth of work so I could keep up with all of the incoming e-mails and other issues that come up. This year, however, I went cold turkey – I focused solely on my sons and our weekend. I’ll head into the office on Monday with 160+ emails and who knows what else. More importantly, however, I know that I’m getting better at leading because I stayed kept my focus on my boys and nothing else.

I heard the great speaker, Walter Bond, cite the difference between “connecting vs. communicating.” I know I’ve been guilty of getting the two confused and thinking that I’m actually connecting when I’m simply attempting to communicate.

You know the difference, don’t you? It’s when your wife/husband/significant other yells something to you in the bathroom while you’re getting ready for work and they think they actually connected with you. Later, when you tell them that you didn’t know whatever-it-was-they-told-you they say “I told you earlier this morning while you were getting ready for work, remember?”

Of course, you say you don’t because the two of you DIDN’T connect—it was simply a one-way communication. I know this happens to me often. I’ll be deep in thought on a project and someone will stick their head in my office and tell me something (thinking they’ve communicated with me). Later, I won’t remember anything they said because we really didn’t connect.

For me, this past weekend was about being in the moment and really connecting—not wasting a memory. I won’t see the boys again until Christmas . . . or even later. Looking back over the past few days, I think I’m finally understanding why being in the moment is so important.

Life is about great memories, so look around your own life. Do you find yourself trying to juggle a dozen balls at the same time and feeling that you are doing a poor job of it? An example for all of you was on the Ed Sullivan show. Remember the guy who had about a dozen plates spinning on a pole and he went from one pole to the other trying to keep them spinning? If he doesn’t get to the pole soon enough, the plate will crash to the ground.

This is how I’ve felt in the past when I focused on everything except what I should have been. The plates were all likely to crash.

This week, work on being in the moment. Connect, don’t just communicate. Try this at home and work. I’m sure someone will notice the change it you. You’ll be a better leader because of it.

Oh, and about golf . . . it has to be easier become a good leader than good golfer!

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