Where I’m Meant to Be

Do you ever find yourself in the middle of a task thinking ahead to the next task you need to get through? Or maybe you find yourself thinking of something you’d rather be doing instead?

It’s human nature, I believe, to always be thinking of what’s next. We even have a program designed to help people navigate what comes next after a big life moment or shift from how things used to be.

But what if, before we started thinking ahead to what’s next, we take a moment to show up to and appreciate where we are. What if we could be fully present in each task to learn from and enjoy everything we can get out of it?

I’m the first to admit I’m always thinking ahead to the next task on the list, watching the clock to make sure we stay on schedule (the hangry is very real if I’m even a few minutes behind for snacks or meals). But when I interrupt this incessant need to be someplace other than right here, right now, I not only enjoy it more, but I also feel more at peace. I feel more productive. Ultimately, I feel happier.

Let me give you an example. Most days, my boys and I end up in our playroom for a few hours in the morning. As you can imagine, there are days when it feels like I’m constantly the referee, blowing the whistle and breaking up fights every few minutes. But, I’ve noticed that when I remind myself to be present to all the personalities, preferences and moods for everyone in the room, the entire mood changes. And a large part of it is I am now more aware of who each of my boys are and how to be with them so I am less triggered and wiser in what I say and do. As a result, everyone seems to be happier.

How do I center myself and remind myself to be fully present? I use this mantra: This is where I’m meant to be. Right here. Right now. Doing exactly what I’m doing.

How could a continual reminder to center yourself and bring your attention to the task, person, moment, feeling or situation at hand improve your productivity, your experience and, ultimately, your life?

Take Action
When you find your mind is in a place where your body is not, you are not present. But don’t judge it. Just notice it, and see that there is an opportunity to make improvements.

When this happens to you, take a deep breath, close your eyes and remind yourself this is where I’m meant to be in this moment. Come back to unite your mind and body. Be where you are. And if you need to be in another place, bring your mind AND body there. Your intentional effort to be present will cause a mindset shift and you’ll start to feel calm and focused instead of rushed or distracted.

Remember to be present in the moment. It will change the way you see everything you do and can set you on a more productive course as you move on to whatever comes next.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Managing Your Self-Talk

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Go beyond what is expected; don't be average.

Don’t Do Average. Make It an Experience.

You have to eat dinner. You could eat something pre-made; just heat it in the microwave and eat it in front of the television. But by adding a table cloth, candles, your favorite food and a little music, what was once a requirement for survival becomes an experience. Experiences remain. Consider the quote, “People may not always remember what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

Don't do what is expected or average. Take it to the next level. Stand out from the crowd.

Our lives are marked by experiences – both favorable and unfavorable. That tells us two important things:

  1. Make experiences a priority.
  2. Make good experiences.

In a program I teach on customer service, I introduce something I call Impressure Points. Impressure Points is a term that brings together the concept of a Pressure Point (a place where the customer and the business intersect) and Impression (the impression made on the customer). So, business Impressure Points are the places where a business connects with a customer and has the ability to make an impression. Basically, it is an opportunity for a business to create an experience.

There are three types of Impressure points, all of which create a specific experience:

  • Breaking points – the customer did not get or experience what was expected. This could be product that is not delivered on time or is damaged, a call that is not returned, a cranky or unprofessional employee or a bad link on your website. There are so many places you interact with a customer; notice any potential breaking point areas.
  • Success points – the customer got exactly what they wanted, nothing more. Think of the restaurant that gets your order exactly right, but doesn’t make any additional effort in your dining experience. So even though a success point is not a breaking point, it is still not enough of an experience to earn customer loyalty. More is needed. It is a great experience that keeps a customer.
  • Extra Points – the customer got what they wanted AND something more was done. Author and leadership expert Ken Blanchard calls it the +1 in his book Raving Fans. Customers who have an exceptional experience will remember it. Consider the meal that was prepared exactly right and was delivered by a personable, friendly, upbeat and good-with-details waitstaff. This creates the response that gets shared and referred. Customers come back and bring their friends.

Though I shared Impressure Points and the power of experience from a customer’s perspective, realize these can be used anywhere in life, as well. Where are your breaking, success and extra points with your employees? Where are your breaking, success and extra points in your relationship with your spouse or partner, kids, family or friends? Know them to sustain or improve them.

Take Action
Life is about experiences. Notice what experiences you are creating at home and at work. Where are the areas that need more intention to amplify the experience and the outcome from it? What is one thing you can do today to raise a breaking point to a success point, and raise a success point to an extra point? Think of the type of experience you must create to activate engagement, drive results and inspire loyalty. 

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 3 Reasons Why Your Best Employees Will Leave You in 2019 (and what to do about it)

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Parents: Give Presence, not Presents

By Kristin Allaben

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.” –W.E.B. Dubois

I grew up with two parents who taught me a lot about hard work and being humble (I realize I’m one of the lucky ones). These lessons came from their being present; they did not come from giving my sisters and me presents. We weren’t given gifts for every little thing we did. We weren’t rewarded and regaled when we did what we were supposed to do, like working hard, owning our decisions and being our best selves.

Sure, there are certainly situations where gifts as a means to reward or celebrate make sense, like getting an A on a big project or test you know your kid(s) worked hard for, or winning a championship game, or getting into the top choice college. But these types of events are not every day occurrences; they are significant events or milestones.

And that’s the difference that, in my mind, helps separate giving presence from giving presents, of being there every day to support, guide and encourage as opposed to giving gifts.

Today’s world often makes parents feel pressured into constantly delivering surprises, gifts and presents to our kids. Ads for seemingly every product shows us that great parents are the ones who always give their kids exactly what they want. Just look at the market that has developed for 1st birthday parties and what we spend on Christmas!

I decided a long time ago to be a “presence parent” to help my kids sort through great events and challenges, to support and love them, to help them realize that their success is in their ability to find their own way, make their own impact and become their truest self. None of that requires physical gifts.

Be present. Be interested. Not only will giving presence vs. presents create great memories and a encourage a stronger relationship with your kids that evolves as they grow up, it will also teach them that gifts are rewards to be cherished, not something to expect in order to inspire action.

Sometimes, the best gift you can give them is to be with them and be fully present in that moment.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. How can you increase your presence and decrease your presents?
  2. What are the benefits of spending more meaningful time with your kids?
  3. What would the impact of spending more time with your kids be? Would you reduce the number of “things” you give them?

 

Consider reading Overcoming Mom Guilt: Being mindful and aware

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Experience Isn’t Your Enemy

By Kristin Allaben

Just a few short months ago, my husband and I welcomed our second child. There were a number of things we realized we didn’t do during the second pregnancy that we did with the first, like remembering to take those weekly belly pictures or scheduling that extra ultrasound to get those coveted profile shots of baby. With Baby #2, life was busier and those little things were pushed to the back burner to accommodate everything else going on.

I used to get frustrated with (and sometimes down on) myself for not doing everything the same way for #2. My husband would try to lighten the mood by shrugging and saying “second kid.”

It always made me uneasy when we’d use that phrase and, I admit, it took a few rounds of checking in with myself to learn why. To me, it implied a sense of laziness or that you cared less. I realized, however, the “second born syndrome” actually implies being wiser and more aware because you’ve been there before. It’s about experience.

Here’s a great example. New moms are notorious for demanding anyone who wants to hold their newborn to wash their hands. I’ve actually been around a few new moms who went a little more extreme and refused to let anyone in the same room as the new baby if they had a small cough (*ahem* guilty…). With the second, I admit, I was less demanding about hand washing. Sure, I was diligent and asked if someone wasn’t feeling well to not hold the newborn, but otherwise I was a bit more easygoing.

This isn’t because I cared less. It’s because I had experience with a newborn and I learned from it.

We learn from life’s experiences. They help us be better, wiser and sometimes saner the second time around. Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn stated that if we can be present to the information in this moment to learn what it is telling us, we can make our next moment better. We can use what we learn to be wiser, smarter, more confident and more supportive because experience shared something profound with us.

I don’t like the negative connotation associated with the phrase “second kid” or “second child syndrome.” Perhaps I could change it to more accurately reflect the type of parent I become when I intentionally tune in to each moment with every subsequent child: “second born experience.” Maybe this is a more productive way to see how we change and learn, and to appreciate the gift that experience regularly brings.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. How friendly and supportive is your self-talk?
  2. How can you be more mindful to intentionally tune in to the lessons life brings you to make each moment going forward even better?
  3. What is one thing you can do each day to make learning and experience a major focus?

 

Consider reading Are You a Life Owner or a Life Blamer?

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Is Your Life an Adventure?

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

I was recently on a flight home from a speaking gig in Memphis, and as the plane took off, there was a deafening bang from the left side of the plane, followed by a terrible smell. All 165 passengers sat there, quietly speculating what could have happened while a wave of panic quickly grew. An announcement from the captain told us we took a bird into the left engine and needed to return to the airport.

I thought of Captain Sully landing his jet on the Hudson River after his infamous bird strike as the plane wobbled over the hills around Memphis, making two larger passes over the area to give emergency vehicles time to assemble and prepare for our landing. We landed safely and, once at full stop, we were surrounded by fire engines, ready to foam us down if leaks or flames were detected.

Thankfully, we were fine and the plane limped its way to the gate.

Sometimes, life presents us with something that shakes us. It could be a scary airport landing, an illness or personal bankruptcy. And sometimes, it is something exceptional, like the connection to a person you know you will go through life with, succeeding in something difficult or closing that all important deal at work.

It’s how we choose to deal with each event – whether or not we decide to see life as an adventure – that affects our energy, outlook and happiness.

Life doesn’t judge you as good or bad. It just delivers the events – some easy, some hard, some exciting, some heartbreaking. Viewing all of them as part of your adventure helps you keep perspective to climb the hills, ford the streams and, when things seem particularly challenging, find the energy to keep going.

When you view life as an adventure, you don’t take it personally. You simply choose to be part of it, celebrating where it takes you and what you learn in the process.

As Helen Keller said, “Life is an adventure or it is nothing.”

I choose adventure.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. What do you do to make your life an adventure?
  2. Where in your work/life/relationship(s) are you playing small when playing larger would connect you to a bigger, bolder life?
  3. What is one thing you can do today to live a dream, develop a passion and make your life more of an adventure?

 

Consider reading Learn to See the Good.

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