There’s a lot on my plate in the coming months. In 2014, I will be traveling to Mexico, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, and will take a couple of trips within the U.S. And that’s only what is scheduled so far! All that future travel is making me feel exhausted today. I’m laughing at myself, because I’m having anticipatory fatigue — even though I’m looking forward to all of those trips, and am sure that each will be enjoyable in its own way. I’m struck by the fact that I’m feeling tired before they happen, an indication to me that I’m not being in the moment, which is, frankly, silly. It’s a waste of my time, spirit, and energy to anticipate being tired.
The truth is I’ll most likely have plenty of energy for my travels, and this story I’m telling myself: “Oh, I’m getting older. I’m slowing down a bit. I’m not going to have the stamina,” isn’t true. If I take a breath and notice how I am in this moment, the reality is, yes, I’m a little tired from a busy week, but essentially I’m fine. I’ve got an interesting day ahead of me, and if I stay present for this moment, I have all of the energy I need.
How much of the exhaustion we as leaders feel is based not in the moment, but in remembering times when we were tired in the past, or in anticipating being tired in the future? The same can be said for fear. Based on past challenges, I can become fearful about the future when, in this moment, things are perfectly blissful and safe. As leaders, it’s important to remember to bring ourselves back to the present, and to meet each moment as it occurs, rather than worry, fear, or feel tired ahead of time. If we can keep our attention on this moment, we have the potential to be more effective, and experience much more joy in our work.
I invite you to notice:
- How are you in this moment? Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. Now. How’re you doing? Are you all right? If so, enjoy and embrace the feeling.
- If you’re not OK, what would it take to be all right in this moment?
Staying present in current time is an essential leadership skill. It’s where our resilience lies. It saves us from overwhelm, unnecessary stress and fears for the future. Leading from the “now” allows us to savor each moment and to make the most of our precious and important lives. It’s how we change the world.
From my heart to yours.
How do you bring yourself back to this moment when you start to feel anticipatory fatigue, or fear? Share your experience in the comments.
Photo credit: Water Lily by Karen Arnold