by Kate Harper
Years ago, I was told to just be present. What? What the heck does that mean? Mindfulness – being present to what is happening in the moment with openness, curiosity, and compassion – is an ancient practice garnering a lot of buzz in leadership circles.
Is mindfulness this season’s polka dotted coat or a Chanel jacket? Our vote is for Chanel. From the beginning, we at Inspired Mastery have supported our clients to bring mindfulness to everyday circumstances. One of Jen’s clients, Lucianne Walkowicz, a stellar astronomer and TED Fellow shares her experience (excerpted from her blog post Be There Then):
Today, as I fly to Vancouver, I know what’s at stake. I’m giving a talk that is essentially about climate change and the importance of preserving the habitability of Earth, a subject I feel passionately about and a message I hope will reach a lot of people. And man, am I nervous! Despite the fact that I have grown calmer about public speaking in general over the past four years, the flames of my anxiety are fanned by my personal investment in doing justice to this particular topic.
This week, I brought my talk anxiety up with my very excellent and insightful SupporTED coach, Jen Sellers. Jen is amazing at getting me to see the bigger picture when I feel like a frog at the bottom of a tall empty barrel, flailing against the walls as I frantically try to hop out. As a serious practitioner of meditation, Jen gently reminded me that my anxiety was being driven by an attachment to outcomes— that if I want to overcome it, the key lies in being present at the moment I am giving the talk. That is, after all, the only thing I can control— I have no control over what happens to my talk, how the audience receives it, etc.— I only have the moment I am on the stage and speaking.
Mindfulness is a way of being, a practice versus an end point. It is supported by training the mind (meditation) and is something each of us can reach for whether we meditate or not. At Inspired Mastery we don’t tell someone to “be present,” but instead help them tap into their innate ability to go beyond the mind and have a real experience of what is present now.