Awareness — Harnessing The Power Of Your Presence
There’s no moment more important than this moment.
This is the sixth piece in an essay series on bringing humanity back to life and positively transforming the way we live, work, and operate in our always-connected 21st-century environment. You can explore the rest of the series here!
It’s full of beauty, if you know where to look. Regardless of what’s going on around you, there’s a place in this current moment where you can escape to and find peace of mind. Peace and quiet. There’s an opportunity for you to soak in all the beauty and experience the joy and connection offered by a sincere focus on what you’re currently experiencing. Where joy, comfort, and positivity collide, and creativity thrives off of your awareness, intention, and focus.
This powerful presence can be applied in so many ways both personally and professionally, yet we often overlook these moments as we’re so caught up in our day to day operations, running from place to place on autopilot, rarely stopping to smell the proverbial roses! To me, this is a shame, as the present moment is where we produce our best work, find our state of flow, and connect with what matters most to us.
The opportunities for presence come and go, frequently overrun by meetings, communications, and distractions generated by the internet, web browsers, social networks, and the bad habits we’ve unconsciously created for ourselves over years of multi-tasking and constant device checking. The hustle and bustle of our lives paired with the post-industrial American work culture focused on growth, productivity, and efficiency, has led to our minds frequently being pulled out of the present moment to look towards the future, resurrect the past, or jump from thought to thought and task to task without regard for what’s important in this precise moment.
Pair this with distracting technologies that buzz in our pocket and beckon to be checked even when we know there’s nothing new, and we’ve got a near-endless list of reasons to be pulled out of the present moment!
Yet this precise moment is exactly where your power lies.
From enjoyment to productivity to leadership and more, the power of presence is one that enables you to be your best self. To connect with whatever task, person, or event you’ve engaged for the moment.
What I’m here to help you explore is how valuable the present moment can be, what you can do to tap in to your awareness, and how presence combined with gratitude and a few other mindful habits can help you realize — and achieve — your human potential, while minimizing the overwhelm that 80% of working Americans regularly experience during work!
When we experience presence, we become our most powerful selves. Simple as that.
Our intuition kicks in to high gear and awareness of our surroundings becomes both important and background noise at the same time. When we’re experiencing the power of presence, we can distill signal from noise and tap in to our innermost selves, thus enabling better decision making, more frequent insight discovery, and new levels of focus and clarity. Furthermore, presence can become the powerful culmination of mindset, intention, and appreciation for the beauty of whatever moment we’re in. And appreciation is an excellent trigger for shifting our mindset to one of positivity, which in turn unlocks inspiration, creativity, and potential.
And that’s what we’re seeking here — unlocked potential!
By being present in this moment, and letting go of judgement and a sense of achievement, we begin to experience the moment for what it is. Neither good nor bad; it just exists.
Presence allows us to move through our day and accept things for what they are, recognizing that we are OK. We are enough. We are doing just fine.
By removing judgement — good vs. bad, should vs. shouldn’t — we can reframe our perspectives, calm our anxieties, soothe our psyches, and let ourselves find joy and appreciation in whatever situation we’re facing at the current moment.
And there, from that place of grounded presence, we can breathe deeply, choose positivity, and make choices that empower us to be our best selves, exude our best qualities, produce our best work, and live our best life.
There’s a few ways to bring about a sense of presence, regardless of what your surroundings are like. The more noise we’re dealing with — conflict, busy calendars, distractions, ego, etc — the harder it may be at first. However, with some practice and regular awareness of your presence, you’ll quickly be able to find your calm in whatever environment surrounds you.
Here are a few thoughts on how to achieve a truly powerful level of awareness:
First, focus on your breath.
- Let the chatter in your mind pass you by. It’s OK to have thoughts flying around — you always will — but know that your goal here is to not hold on to them, so bring yourself back to your breath.
- Look around you and make mental notes on the environment you’re in. Become aware of your surroundings. An office? City streets? Coffee shop? Construction site?
- Look for the beauty in that moment. It could be the pop of vibrant color against a dreary, drab workplace. Or the beautifully finished wooden floors of a recently renovated building.
- Find the things you don’t typically see, and express some appreciation towards them, recognizing them as beautiful in their own unique way.
- At this point you may be hyper-aware of your surroundings. That’s good! What also may be racing through your head are replays of moments you once experienced, and/or fears, thoughts, and anxieties of moments that have yet to come. These are the ones you need to let go of, because they’re the ones that pull you out of the present and into the future or past.
- To let go, try finding a way to tell yourself that this moment right now is the only one that matters. Remember that you cannot change the past, and you’re not living in any future moment just yet, so all you have is this moment. This presence.
- Breathe in and out, deeply, and let yourself come to terms with your surroundings as they blend with your thoughts on the present moment.
- And there, from that place of awareness, presence, and appreciation for whatever tiny sliver of the world you’ve carved out for yourself, you can begin to shift your focus to the problem you’re solving, the experience you’re having, and the moment you’re in, and set an intention for how you’d like to use the present moment.
As Amy Cuddy wrote in her book, Presence, “presence emerges when we feel personally powerful, which allows us to be acutely attuned to our most sincere selves.” She continues to write how this “power affects our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and even physiology in fundamental ways that directly facilitate or obstruct our presence, our performance, and the very course of our lives.”
By that logic, our ability to experience presence is a key contributor to the work we produce, the moments we experience, and the lives we live. It also enables us to experience more frequent joy, as we’re living in realities of now and not visions of the future or memories of the past.
This exercise of “presencing” can be applied to any situation, at any point in your day, for any reason you choose. Whether you’re waiting in a hospital, working from your office, hiking a mountain, collaborating with a client, sitting through endless meetings, building a brick wall, or any other experience you’re having, presence is a tool that’s always available to you and will always help you extract some joy, fulfillment, and appreciation out of your time.
I’ve used this practice when my workplace was frustrating me, yet I had things to accomplish. I was able to tune out the noise around me and focus on the task at hand, which resulted in much more work getting done than on a typical noisy day full of meetings and chatter.
I suggest you try presencing yourself on your way to your job, and at several points throughout your day. You can use presence as a tool to increase your focus on work, make the meeting with your boss more bearable, or simply find joy in that frustrating-yet-necessary task you’re working on right now.
When you do try it, please let me know how it goes! Good or bad, I want to hear your experience, and learn how your perspectives shifted if you found a true sense of presence. As always, I’m on Twitter @TheRoyalTbomb!