I know that what follows is a little out of the ordinary. Where are the business strategies and tactics that work? I have plenty for you between now and the end of the year. But for now…. Well……
Have you ever had the experience of enjoying something so much that time just flew by – that time didn’t even seem to exist? The event, the sensation, the experience ended and only then did you realize that time was suspended and you seemed to have been outside of time. That you had no sense of time. It might have been a minuet or an hour but it seemed to go by in the blink of an eye.
Have you had the other experience – where each tick of the second hand seemed like an eternity? Did you ever watch the clock in school and the last two minuets seemed like hours?
Well if the passage of time and how we experience it is not absolute, is it possible to enjoy each moment without judging it just by being there? And, what would life be like if the good times seemed to last forever and the bad stuff flew by?
If you are like me, and like many entrepreneurs, there is a tendency, even during the down times of the holidays to be somewhere else. To be thinking and planning and doing but not really being there with those around you. This time of year is particularly difficult for me because I take my clients’ very seriously and there are many end of year deadlines, projects, and needs.
But, for our sanity and for the sake of our friends, families, and loved ones we need to be there, in the moment. And, we need to be awake to the experience. And surprisingly, there may even be a business blessing that just arises from our new skill of being present.
Around the holidays, it is easy to let the “robot” take over. Family members “push our buttons” and we react to experiences not based on choice in the moment but out of long ago established patterns. We eat when we aren’t hungry, we watch television instead of reading something that we’d just love to read, and we have the same conversations over and over again.
So how do we wake up, be there, and enjoy the holidays and discover the blessings of this new skill?
Now many people will argue about this, but I ask myself a few questions. When things start to happen I ask, “What’s new about this?” How can I respond to this rather than just reacting? What about this fascinates me? Have I ever done this crazy thing myself? And, if I did, why did I do it?
I also like: Can I think of any positive reason that I (or another) might be doing this? How can I enjoy this? Am I breathing deeply and in a relaxing way? Se my earlier post on the four fold breath which is a killer application during the holidays season with all of its pressures.
Well, many people will say – are you really there in the moment if you’re asking yourself questions? Perhaps not fully, but you are learning that you have a range of responses to each moment, day, situation, person and challenge. You’re learning to pause and notice the space between cause and effect where you have choice and that is powerful. You are looking at the world and your place within it in new ways.
And eventually, you can be really present, really flexible, and really awake to the possibilities around you, the needs and hopes of others as well as your own. And it is worth realizing that flexibility is a basic skill and strategy of the world’s most effective communicators. See The Language of Parenting – Building Great Family Relationships At All Ages and The Six Word Question That Can Change The Way You Relate To Your Friends and Family.
I mean if you want to be a great golfer you don’t just show up at the PGA and tell them that you’re ready for the tour. There are some preliminaries, some exercises and some practice.
There is a tendency to say “I don’t have time for the holidays,” or “I need to get some work done.” But you may need to do this work. Choose to work on yourself. Enjoy the time with those around you. Really disconnect from the unimportant and connect with what matters. Reconnect. You may be a better person and a better business person for it.
And finally, while you’re at it, there are many who are not as lucky as we are. Find some way to give to others. Directly – get those groceries for an elderly person or shovel their sidewalk. Or, indirectly, by making a gift of money or sending a package to a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan. Do something that you would not ordinarily even consider doing. This is an experiment. Notice how you feel.
And, as for regrets (which also surface around the holidays) this feeling of regret is expending energy and emotion on something in the past, which you cannot change. You can only do the right thing right now. Forget about worrying about the future (that’s just energy on another thing that you cannot control). Forget about regret. Just be here and now with the people who are here right now.
Have a safe and happy holiday. Remember to breath deeply and ask new questions. The choice of how it works out is yours and mine – moment by moment.
Photo Credit: CarbonNYC