Your future is being created right here and now in the present moment by the decisions you make today. The career and business life you will have in 3 years time is being determined by what you choose to focus on now.
We often think that change requires a significant shift or a massive event brought about by a huge effort. The reality is that every moment holds the power to shape your future career direction.
“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life and one life can change the world” The Buddha
As a leader, you are often required to make difficult decisions in stressful environments.
How do you remember to choose a different future for you, your team and your business?
The key lies in using your awareness to make conscious decisions that align with your desired future.
Easier said than done right? Our default is to act immediately on our thoughts and feelings, almost automatically. We live in a world where the pace of life, business and work is ever increasing, where there is so much information available that it can be difficult to sift and pick that which is truly valuable or applicable.
Quick and automatic responses are essential for those activities that are highly repetitive and do not change. If you touch type, you do this without thinking about which keys to press next. In fact, the effort of conscious thought slows down the touch typing process. The neural networks you created when you learned to touch type make this task automatic. Each time you use this neural network, it is reinforced. This requires less effort and focus for you to touch type now, compared with when you first learned this skill. The brain’s capacity for cognitive functioning is limited and so evolution has adapted us to perform some tasks on autopilot.
Unfortunately, we often use this automatic pilot for decision and tasks that have the potential to shape our future. Every interaction you have with another person has the potential to change your future and theirs.
Think about your last difficult interaction with a colleague or direct report. What would have happened if you had chosen a different response?
Recently a client relayed the story of how he applied a strategy we discussed during a difficult interaction with a person at work. Instead of responding in the usual way, my client asked the question “ what do you think we should do?” This changed the dynamic and expectation that my client should have all the answers as the leader and acknowledged that there were no easy answers. This sparked a shift in their relationship which made it OK not to know the answer and to inquire into the options together. It also resulted in the direct report feeling more engaged and empowered to inquire into solutions rather than having the “right answer”.
The key to the change was not the question, rather my client’s awareness in the moment to flip the dynamic by asking a question. How do you remember to engage your awareness “muscle” through the practice of mindfulness? Here’s an article I wrote on how to develop the mindfulness muscle.