A few days ago one of my leadership students sent me a picture of her getting her nails painted by her 11-year-old daughter with the text saying, “thank you for reminding us that leadership is about paying attention to the moments and how we want to show up.”
It was a sweet picture and reflection. All week it’s had me thinking about how easy it is to run through the days, checking off our to-do list while potentially not leaning into the moments that matter most.
When we talk about effective listening homework in class, it is always heartwarming, inspiring and a bit concerning albeit humorous to hear the stories that people bring back to class. “Wow, I had the best conversation with my partner, colleague, child, friend….” yet isn’t it interesting that the exercise was about listening. And their takeaway was the power of the connection and depth of the conversation. It is the power of really paying attention to the moment we are in that can change everything.
When we truly give ourselves to the moment (the moment Ram Das coined “Be Here Now”), we consciously prioritize being right where we are. Research shows that words account for only about 30% of what we take away from conversations. The rest of our learning have been?
And all of this thinking brings me back to effective leadership. Some of the key questions in leadership are:
- How do we want to show up in the various roles we play?
- How do we define success in our roles as a professional, parent, partner, sibling, etc.?
- What are the values that we want to holistically and authentically embody?
When we take a few moments each day to ground ourselves in that awareness and set intentions, our inner voice can remind us as to remain authentic throughout the day. Our listening deepens. Our awareness of what is important deepens, perhaps even allowing us to lean into our highest priorities and begin to release activities, projects, behaviors and relationships that keep us running but don’t deeply serve our vision of what’s important and who we want to be.
And that deeper listening, both internally and externally can truly take us from good to great.
Here’s to the power of getting our toes painted by a child and understanding the power of “being here now.”