The Value and Process of Exercising Present-Moment Awareness

In today’s fast-paced world, most of us have a daily to-do list that is insurmountable. Coupled with internal and external expectations to deliver things better and faster than our competitors, staying in the moment has become a discontinued luxury—an acceptable casualty in the course of doing business.  

But in the haste to save precious time, the value of present-moment awareness is being grossly devalued.

Present-moment awareness can be defined many ways. But, ultimately, it is the conscious decision and process of being observant of and attendant to the current experience, rather than focusing on the next task, or thinking of a past moment.

Take a task as simple as placing a routine order with a regular vendor. Placing the order as quickly as possible may take two minutes, in an effort to race to the next thing on the to-do list. But, this two-minute sprint did not allow for any additional value to be achieved as part of the ordering process. No additional relationship building was achieved; no observance or understanding of the vendor’s current business model was gleaned; no strategizing on how to work together more effectively was discussed; no leadership modeling was done; and the finite time certainly did not allow you or the vendor to deliver excellence.

While placing the order as quickly as possible may have been “strictly business”, permitting a few additional minutes to exercise present-moment awareness affords a more comprehensive approach to long-term business success. Here are five tips on how to practice present-moment awareness.

  1. Get prepared to be present and set a clear intention. Before jumping into the next task, take 30 seconds to a minute to prepare to embrace the new moment with a clear mind. Close your eyes, take 5 deep breaths. With each exhale, let go of the previous activity and any tension that you are holding. This will allow you to physically and emotionally be more focused on the person with whom you are about to connect.
  2. Stop, look, and listen. When entering new situations, allow yourself time to embrace and observe all of the details of the experience. Indicators are a great way to better understand how a business operates, recognize stress levels and pain points, and engage and adjust in the most efficacious manner possible.
  3. Have a purpose beyond the immediate task. What is your strategy to not only execute the current task well, but to engage in a manner that will allow you to foster a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship? What is your strategy for making the person feel valued? What is your strategy for asking questions and observing to gauge the company’s core values?
  4. Model the behavior you want to inspire. Every engagement is an opportunity for you to lead and motivate others through your own conduct. Take time to identify the message you want to convey and how you wish to convey it.
  5. Make every engagement mutually beneficial. Though delivering excellence is something generally associated with the service provider, the recipient can be equally engaged in the quality of the process in how we request service, how we communicate, how we respond to challenges, etc. Delivering excellence is about being our best self in the moment.

Though practicing present-moment awareness can feel like it takes a bit more time, each engagement will be more fruitful, creating stronger and more sustainable bonds.

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