The Being & The Doing EPISODE 7:
The Go/No Go Factor
Being more mindful as you go about your day means you can make more conscious and intentional choices. Then you are better able to align those choices with your priorities and values and show up authentically in your interactions in the world. In this episode Laurel explores the skills of being present and personal presence and how they have a direct impact on ourselves and those around us.
*See full transcript below
HIGHLIGHTS YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS
- an important distinction 1:25
- the go/no go factor 3:52
- where is your attention? 5:02
- which version of you is showing up? 9:34
- this episode’s homework 14:00
Here’s the link to the page for your Being & Doing homework. It includes a little guide with some ideas about making time for both action and awareness. When you grab it you will also get my weekly tips about living life the mindful way.
You can grab your FREE homework Awareness & Action guide HERE.
Here’s more information about mindfulness and how to be more present in your life
Here’s a good reminder about presence
Curious about the skillset approach to well-being? Check out the Well-being By Design model
THIS EPISODE’S HOMEWORK
Something to think about:
What gets in the way of being present?
Something to try:
This one is not for the faint of heart – pick one word that you think best describes you and what other people’s experience of being around you is like. Then ask 3 people what their experience of you is – maybe phrase is like this – if you could pick one word to describe me what would it be – and please be brutually honest. Feel free to ask for more info but don’t debate it with them. Just say thanks. And like any feedback its simply information that you can keep or discard.
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CREDITS: The Being & The Doing podcast is produced by Neela Bell. Voiceovers by Jason Harris. Music is GoodMorning Sunshine by Yoav Alyagon and Firefly by Scott Buckley.
Full Transcript of the Show
Laurel: Hey, lovely ones welcome to Episode 7 of The Being and The Doing. In today’s show, I’m going to share another one of the cornerstone skill sets of well-being from my ‘well-being by design’ model. Today, it’s about the skills of presence about both being more present in your life and also paying attention to your personal presence or the experience that other people have of you.
In the past five episodes, I’ve been sharing this skillset approach to well-being and the cornerstone skill sets of pausing and calm and focus and purpose. And so today, we’re going to dive into the skills of presence. It’s all about being more mindful as you go about your day so that you can make more conscious and intentional choices. Because when you do that, then you’re better able to align your choices with your priorities and your values and when that happens, you show up authentically, with the people around you.
This is a big topic so today let’s begin by focusing on an important distinction, presence versus being present. So being present is about paying attention in the moment, having present moment awareness, what you probably think of as mindfulness.
And presence is how you show up. Now, the wonderful Maya Angelou said I’ve learned that people will forget what you said and people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel. And so that’s really the essence of present the experience that people have of you. And before we’re going to dive deeper into this presence and being present idea, here’s an important question to consider, why? Why is this an important skill set? Well, in the world that we live in now where we have this epidemic of distraction, people shift into autopilot all the time and they do that in order to manage their priorities, you do that in order to manage your priorities or at least to manage your to-do list.
Maybe they’re not even necessarily your priorities but you shift into autopilot in order to get done the endless list of things that you need to do. When you do that, when we all do that, we end up having really disconnected and unconscious choices and behaviors. It’s just a function of being on autopilot and you know, it’s okay, we all do that. We all shift into autopilot, but there’s a cost of that. When we’re not present to what is happening right now in this moment, we’re actually missing what is happening right now.
You know, our lives are actually lived in moments. They’re not lived in days or weeks or months or years, they’re lived in moments. And when we’re in this autopilot state, we’re not conscious of the way in which we’re showing up, the personal present that we have and so we’re not aware of the impact that we’re having on others. And so then quite likely we’re not having the kind of impact that we want to be having.
You know, personal presence is sometimes called the go/no-go factor and that’s because it really has an influence on other people. It influences how much people are going to trust us and how much they’re willing to engage with us and develop relationships with us. Because if the way we’re showing up is not actually authentically and communicating to those around us that we want to be there with them then, you know, they disconnect from that.
So that’s why it’s important. Just think about this whole idea of presence as the go-no-go thing in your life. Whether people are going to say yeah, I want more of that or no, not so much of that whether it’s your kids, whether it’s your significant other, whether it’s your co-workers or your neighbor next door, go-no-go.
Let’s dive a little bit deeper into this idea of being present first or mindfulness. Think of being present as, where is your attention right now? Because your attention can be in one of three places; your attention is either in the past or your attention is here in the present moment or it’s in the future and none of those places are bad or wrong. This being present is paying attention to, where is my attention? So let’s think about our attention is in the past. That means we’re thinking about things, paying attention to things that have already happened, either already happened five minutes ago or already happened this morning or yesterday or last week or last year or whenever. It’s already happened and that’s what we’re paying attention to. Now, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it depends; we look to the past because first our memories are there. So if my attention is in the past because I’m reliving a lovely memory, great. Maybe my attention is in the past because I’m going back to tap into learning that I have because our learning all exists in the past. We go back to oh, how did I do that?
You know, I have to do this thing now, how do I do that? We had a car one time where we could never remember how to change the clock in this car, whenever you had the switch of the daylight savings time. And that was a perfect past experience because you’re sitting there thinking, oh, yeah, how did you do that again? That’s in the past but if your past thinking is about regret, where you’re putting time and energy into past thinking because it’s like oh, I wish I hadn’t done that, maybe not the best use of your time and energy.
Okay, let’s think about future thinking. So future thinking is thinking about something that’s going to happen five minutes from now, an hour from now, tonight, tomorrow, next week, next year, and again good or bad, it really depends. All of our dreaming and are planning exists in future thinking because we’re looking ahead to what will happen or what we want to make happen. But worry always also exists in this future thinking so if we’re future thinking and we’re worrying not necessarily productive or a good use of our time. And in the present moment, this beautiful present moment, is actually the only moment in which you can make a choice because the choices that you made in the past are long gone. You can’t go back and change them and the choices that you will make in the future are still potential choices. The only actual choice that you can make about your behavior, about your thoughts and about anything, exist here in the present moment.
So mindfulness, it’s not about living in the moment all the time. It kind of drives me crazy when people talk about oh, we need to live in the moment because it makes me ask, which moment are you talking about? Because sometimes we’re living in a past moment because that’s helpful and sometimes we’re living in a future moment because that’s helpful, mindfulness is much more about the awareness of where am I right now and adjusting accordingly because we want to return to the present moment and experience our life as it is happening. Not how it did happen or it might happen but how it is actually happening right now and return to the present moment because here’s where your choices are.
But going to the past or going to the future is just fine if it’s a productive use of moving to thinking about the past or thinking about the future. You know, this whole mindfulness thing, you know, there’s a podcast just on the topic of mindfulness. We could have lots and lots and lots of conversation about mindfulness and there are lots for us to explore in future episodes. I’m going to leave a link in the show notes for some more information about mindfulness and how to be present.
It might be a good refresher for you or a little bit different perspective on mindfulness or if you’re totally new to the whole idea of mindfulness, great place to start.
So let’s turn our conversation to presence. So presence is about who you are and how you’re showing up in the world. It’s kind of that immediately recognizable quality that certain people have where you just know that they are there with you. You know, presence is about this experience of bringing your whole self to full attention to whatever is happening in the moment. We all have lots of different versions of ourselves, presence is about which version of yourself is currently showing up. Now, I get it, there is only one you but that one you have lots of versions. It doesn’t always look the same, does it? It would be lovely if we always brought the best version of ourselves to activities that we’re doing or our interactions with other people, but the truth is we don’t.
We’ve all got a cranky side or a whiny side, a discourage side version, a defensive side or version, angry, hurt, opinionated, judgmental, bossy, sarcastic; all of that is still part of who we are and sometimes that is how we show up. We also have another side, other versions of ourselves; ones that are kind and caring and compassionate and optimistic and strong and confident and respectful and playful and on and on all these other sides or versions of ourselves. So presence is really about paying attention to which version of yourself you’re bringing to this particular moment because how you show up in any moment, has a real direct impact not only on yourself but on everybody else around you.
So it’s not about making any part of yourself any version of yourself bad or wrong, it’s really about paying attention in the moment to which version of yourself you’re showcasing, who’s got the stage right now and whether that’s actually helpful in the current situation. Presence is who we are and tasks are what we do. There’s that beautiful ‘being and doing’. Present is ‘being’ and tasks are ‘doing’. So here’s the thing, how you show up actually communicates what’s important to you in the moment, regardless of what you’re doing, regardless of what the task is, the way you show up to it, actually communicates what is important to you.
Here’s the kicker, you can’t define your presence, other people do because it’s their experience of you. Sure, you can be conscious intentional about the presence you’d like to have and the version of yourself you’d like showing up. You can be conscious intentional about the choices that you’re making in the moment, but how that lands on the other side, is kind of out of your control.
You can’t define your presence only other people can say what their experience of you is. So, you’ve probably figured out by now that being present and presence are inextricably combined. Presence is dependent on being present. How I’m showing up requires me to be present in the moment but there is this distinction between paying attention in the moment and this idea of who I am being at any particular moment. And when we’re present, of course, we’re better able to bring our authentic self, the best versions of ourselves, to any situation or any task that it is that we might be doing; present, being present.
For now, let me leave you with a little homework because it helps you to extend your thinking, your learning, maybe gets you to try something that helps to develop your awareness or lets you see
what happens when you do something a little bit different.
So a little something to think about and a little something to try, you can grab a pen and write it down now, you always will find the homework in the show notes and that’s also where you’ll find the link to the little guide that helps you do this kind of homework.
So here goes, something to think about; what gets in the way of being present? So for you when you aren’t being present when your mind and body are not in the same place so your body is here, but your mind is thinking about something else, what is it that causes that to happen? What gets in the way, pushes you out of the present moment?
Now, something to try and this one is not for the faint of heart. Pick one word that you think best describes you and what other people’s experience of being around you is like. So write that word down and then ask three people what their experience of you is. So maybe phrase it something like this; if you could pick one word to describe me, what would it be? And please be brutally honest, you have to give people sort of permission to tell you really what that is. So feel free to ask them for more information. Just don’t debate with them because your presence is not defined by you, it’s defined by what their experience of you is.
So ask them that question, what’s your experience of me? Maybe that language isn’t great, maybe it’s you know, what’s the one word that you think best describes me or how I show up? And then they’ll tell you and just say thanks. Any feedback, it’s just information and so you can keep it or you can discard it, maybe it’ll give you a little bit of an insight, maybe it will be like, oh great that feels like a good alignment or like oh, wow, really? Just say, thanks.
So feel free to leave any comments or questions on the show notes page or in iTunes. I do love to hear from you and I do love suggestions about other topics that you’d like me to tackle in The Being and The Doing. Now, next time, I have a question for you and your answer to this question controls everything else that happens in your life. Curious, well, then be sure to tune in and until then lovely ones pause, breathe, and enjoy your day.
Outro: You’ve been listening to The Being and The Doing with your host, Laurel Vespi. If you liked this episode and think other people would, please subscribe, rate and give a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to tune in next week for another conversation about The Being and The Doing. Thanks for listening.