What has you preoccupied today?

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Would you stop to notice the serenity in this place, or race forward into what you are worried about next?

“Honestly, I’m a little scared right now,” he whispered across the white linen table cloth. “Lately, I’ve been waking up around 1:30 in the morning with my mind racing and I wrestle around until the alarm goes off at 5. I’m exhausted, worried and for the first time in my life, I feel like I am failing.”

I was startled: The person I saw across the table was handsome, talented and successful, but he couldn’t see it.

Our minds are very, very powerful and sometimes we need learn how to handle ourselves with more care. Fear, worry and doubt tear holes in the fabric of good leadership, because what we concentrate on grows!  Especially when we label ourselves with the fear of “failing.”

Raise your hand if it hasn’t happened to you.

“I see you as handsome, talented and successful,” I said out loud. He blushed, fidgeted, and asked: “Can you help me see myself that way again?”

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What would it take for your mood to be light, calm and joyful all day today? What we concentrate on grows.

Mindfulness is an amazingly successful school of thought to help powerful people fight off worry, fear and doubt.  We find calm and confidence by focusing our awareness on the present moment and by accepting our feelings and thoughts without judgment.  But here’s the trick: in the present moment each of us is safe, secure, happy and content – it’s the stories we tell from our past and the worries of the future that make us crazy in the moment. The most important lesson: what we concentrate on grows.

“There’s goodness in everything,” I coached. “What would it take for you to enjoy this breakfast so much that you would describe your mood as ‘light, calm and joyful?” I probed.

Over the next 45 minutes, we spoke with unvarnished intellectual honesty. No stories, no jokes, no brainstorming. Just important questions and real answers: Will the people who love you stop loving you if this job isn’t right for you? Will you actually run out of money if you quit and changed directions? What is troubling you so much that you couldn’t spend the rest of the day at work with your mood “light, calm and joyful?”

He left the restaurant whistling.

Good leaders make a habit to be open with their friends about worry, fear and doubt. And they practice unvarnished intellectual honesty to stay light, calm and joyful at home and at work.

What has you preoccupied? What is getting in your way of being light, calm and joyful today?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous on January 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    This is beautiful Paul. Thank you for sharing this man’s story. We all have ‘monkey brain’ moments. Light, calm, and joyful. A mark of great sane leaders. Count me in.
    Patty



  2. ptanji on January 28, 2014 at 11:55 am

    This is beautiful Paul. Thank you for sharing this man’s story. We all have ‘monkey brain’ moments. Light, calm, and joyful. A mark of great sane leaders. Count me in.
    Patty



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