It sounds so good: being more present. Who can be against that? Getting rid of all these thoughts about the past and the future (or in proper lingo: becoming aware of all these thoughts) that are bugging us day in day out. Just being in the present moment. What a relief. It’s like taking a vacation without going anywhere. Moreover research shows that being in the present moment has many other advantages like less stress and better decision-making. One surprising advantage of being more mindful is that it will make you more compassionate as a leader. I love that one.

But with so many good and nice things in life, it’s not easy to be present all the time. We all have those moments when we are present and we can be there for another person but for most of us those glorious moments of mindfulness are outshone by all these moments that we’re lost in the past or the future.

So, what is the secret to being more present in the work place?

Let me first explain what I mean by being present. It’s being mindful about what is going on right now in a non-judgmental way. You are aware of things that happen right now. Like the sounds that surround you. A person talking. A phone ringing. The fresh smell of your co-worker’s coffee nearby. The changing colors that announce Fall.

Being present connects you to what you sense right now. And all this is non-judgmental.

So, what is the secret to being more present in the work place?

The secret is to take small steps. Becoming more present in the workplace is not like the Olympics. There is no competition. It won’t bring you a gold medal. And it is not that peak performance in a small period of time.

It starts with those little things as in the earlier examples.  That moment of awareness in which you smell your coworker’s coffee. That moment of awareness in which you really can hear what a co-worker is communicating to you without being lost in your own thoughts. And that moment of awareness in which you feel the sensations in your own body.

Becoming more present is essential for leaders. It’s the foundation for real connection with your co-workers. And like leadership becoming more present is a journey. It’s a process of becoming. Sometimes you feel that you’re making great progress. And a few hours later you realize that you have been driving in your car for an hour lost in thoughts. Then judgment creeps in.

What are some examples of small steps you can do today to become more present in your office?

Example 1 – Your phone rings.

Train yourself to pause for a second and take a breath before you pick up your phone.

Example 2 – Next meeting is three offices down the hall.

Walk consciously to your next meeting.

Example 3 – Stop multi-tasking when drinking.

Drink your coffee, tea, or here in Colorado, water, sip by sip, consciously. Not doing something else at the same moment helps.

Example 4 – Do some box breathing.

Inhale through your nose for 4 counts and hold for same count. Exhale for 4 seconds and hold for the same count.

And don’t forget to join the special UleadU program that will start soon. Learn more about being mindful and leading others in an authentic way. More information about the UleadU-program will follow in the next couple of weeks.