The Idea: People spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours distracted, says a Harvard University study published by psychologists Mathew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert in the Journal Science.  The study summarized 250,000 data points assessing people’s thoughts and actions as they meander through life.

Sadly, most of us operate on autopilot. Studies show that 91% of adults have their mobile phone within arm’s reach every hour of every day.  We are literally training ourselves to be distracted and losing the ability to remain present.

Being present means mastering focus and awareness.

If you have the guts to focus on this one idea for a week – I guarantee you will see tremendous growth in every part of your life including business, relationships, earnings, and personal growth.  It is one of the most difficult skills, and it’s fueled by the art of listening.   

Do you truly understand the benefits of effective listening?

It demonstrates respect; it is the soul of co-creation; it is the root of collaboration; it is the essence of leadership; it is the basis for higher level engagement; it drives execution; it is the heart of trust; it unleashes effective strategy; it attracts, retains and helps you develop talent. Listening makes you distinct.

We all have tendencies or triggers that distract us from being present or tuned in to others.  What are your triggers and what robs you from the moment?  Is it anxiety, pressure, worry or some other culprit?  Once you are clear on what’s distracting you, there are three strategies to help you take back the moment.

  • Pause:  This is very simple, yet powerful.  Practice pausing for an extra second or two prior to answering a question or addressing someone in conversation.  That one extra second allows you to gather your thoughts, pick up nonverbal communication, and create more intimate, meaningful discussions with others.  Practice pausing, allows you to capture the moment.
  • Simplify:  The less words (or the more concise your communication), the more aware you become of other’s needs and interests in a discussion.  Consciousness must be activated by silence. 
  • Intermissions:  We all need adequate transition time after long weeks, in-between appointments, after phone calls, and throughout our personal life.  People who build in interludes or respites throughout their day have the energy and focus to stay in the moment with others.  Periodic downtime provides you the poise and energy to actively listen, which is vital to staying present. 

Author and self-development leader Louise Hay puts it well when she says, “The point of power is always in the present moment.”  Are you in the moment with others, or are you teased away to another land? The most impactful people I know are with you word for word.  

Awareness is vital to leadership impact.