Presence is the New Black

 

Presence means to be in the here and now

These days, many of us do not seem to be present even if we are in the room. You take your phone out as soon as you sit on the train. You skim through your email. Another attachment fail. You forgot to save the legal document before you attached it. Your colleague across the ocean is confused. After three emails you clear the confusion. You apologize. You know you must come across stressed. Even though you know that you have worked at higher stress levels in your life, you know that there is a nagging voice inside you that screams “I need a holiday.” You wonder how this happened as it seems your last holiday was only four weeks back. Could the issue be deeper you ask yourself? Is something wrong with me? Do I need therapy?

Then you become aware of all the bullshit that you need to handle every day in your job. It is not the job itself. You love your work. It is not the team. You have shared your vision, mission, brand, and values with your team. They follow you eagerly because they see a brighter future with you.

Presence, politics, puberty and pain

Your team buys into your cause and wants you to succeed but the politics in the management team have become unbearable. The blame-storm that follows every client issue and the loss of ground with your big clients have made you look bad. You are concerned about losing your job, not performing well and not delivering what you promised to deliver. Your wife looks at you for support with the children. Your daughter has behaved difficult lately. She needs your guidance. You want to support but you feel drained in every corner of your life.

You had started a hobby about a year ago because a friend advised you to do “something for yourself”. In the beginning, you were so thrilled about the new friends you made there but now it just feels like another obligation, another point on your task list of never-ending topics. You snap when friends ask you if you want to go out for a beer and your mother’s voice is in your head. “You said you would come for a visit with the children on Sunday.” And there is this mortgage on the house that needs refinancing.

In short: You feel the weight of responsibility of being the provider. You feel that weight on your shoulders and your back. You identify with it through the pain.

Pain means stress is written all over your body

Many of us have stress written all over their body. Even though you will find a lot of methods of reducing stress when you look online many of us have issues to focus nowadays. There are too many distractions that pull us in different directions every minute. We also have too many “shoulds”. We should go to the gym more often, we should recycle the bottles, we should save money. Our mind spends a lot of time thinking about the “shoulds”.

Gain control again and increase your presence

1) Take one hour out of your busy schedule and consult a therapist

Sometimes we feel like we have tried everything possible to please everyone else but lost ourselves in the process. It helps in such situations to consult a therapist. Sometimes you might not really need therapy but in most cases, you will. I am a fan of prevention and I know that we can improve our physical symptoms if we seek support early enough. Unfortunately, in my experience, many managers look for external support when it is too late as they are stuck in an idea of playing the superhero. Alternatively, they are sent to a business coach. A serious coach should send you to a therapist or doctor as soon as you cannot confirm anymore that you feel psychologically and physically healthy. And some of you might seek a doctor before they seek a therapist because you do not believe that your psyche could play tricks on you. It’s up to you! Do something about it before your family loses you for good.

2) Go for light exercise such as a daily walk outside

If you feel stressed but still in control, it can help to prescribe yourself a daily dose of light exercise such as a 20-minute walk. I have written about getting healthy earlier in this post about my favorite productivity hacks. Be sure that you don’t distract yourself with your phone when you go for a walk. Build the walk into a routine such as your commute to work or your coffee runs in the morning. Getting exposure to real light and fresh air is helpful in most countries. If you do not live in Switzerland, it might need adjustment according to outside weather conditions. For example, if you live in Islamabad, you might need to take your walk early in the morning. In Iceland, during the middle of the day.

3) Clean up your workspace daily and mono-task

It sounds simple but is a commonly known ZEN practice. You can get rid of the constant distractions by developing a regular routine of cleaning up and only working on one topic at the time. Your stream of information needs to be directed to the right channel. One example: If you think “I should file my documents” do it the same day. Spend five minutes every evening before you rush home to clean up your desk. Throw away everything that you don’t need. Before you start your workday write down your top three priorities for the day.

4) Learn to Relax through Active Meditation

For a global leader, one of the hardest things to do is to relax. Often you will need a reason, an instruction or a drug. Or you might need excessive physical activity before you can relax. Even if you relax during a massage, for example, your mind still wanders and you have a lot of ideas or you mentally work on your next task list. Since it is so hard for global leaders to clear their head I advise them to combine relaxation with an activity they truly enjoy. It could be learning to play the piano, building LEGO spaceships, renovating old furniture or fly fishing. You could also find an activity that you enjoy doing with a partner, buddy or good friend. It is important that this activity happens regularly (at least once a week), that you can maintain it while traveling and that you religiously stick to it. We qualify these type of activities under „body learning“ so you can use them in your weekly targets or in your body learning target. If you wish a regular practice of relaxation methods and active meditation please join our Global People Happy Hour every Friday from 6 to 7 PM.

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

Sleep helps!

You should also get enough sleep if you wish to increase your executive presence. Here is a guide on how sleep improves your creativity.

 

 

 

Practice Seven Steps of Presence

You can also practice “Seven Steps of Presence” with our template from the Global Career Workbook. Download it and start this for 10 minutes a day before important meetings.

 

 

 



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