3 Tips for Living and Leading in the Moment

Moving through life feels like chasing fireflies. It lights up and you try to capture it, only to find the moments simply can’t be contained. Perhaps the best way to enjoy it is to stand back and just watch the show…letting go of the need to hold onto it.

Last week we hosted our twin boys’ sixth birthday party. Our backyard was filled with a giant inflatable water slide and young boys battling with water guns. The pace, the sounds and the activity were frenetic. But at one point, I paused amidst the chaos just long enough to absorb the moment.

Later that evening after cleaning up the mess, I looked up at the blue sky and tried to grab it with my hands, like it was slipping away with the rest of summer.

As I laid on my bedroom floor last night looking at pictures of the party on my phone, I was happy but it was a feeling tinged with melancholy, a hyper-awareness of the passage of time. Older friends tell me, “Enjoy the moments because life passes quickly.” They say this as though they wished they had caught more of it.

In business and in our personal lives, it seems we’re always so consumed by our full schedules and demands we miss what’s right in front of us. Maybe we need to remember the advice of James Taylor:

“The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time,” he said. “Any fool can do it. There ain’t nothing to it.”

Maybe this fool needs to remember there is something to it:

1. Accept our limitations. Dale Carnegie said a key to overcoming worry is to “cooperate with the inevitable.” Rather than worrying about the need to capture every moment, let’s accept that fireflies are just hard to catch. Releasing the concern that the moments are passing makes us more available to enjoy them as they pass.

2. See the present as now. Ancient wisdom suggests that over-focus on the past or future robs us of the present. Mindfulness is realizing that every passing moment holds a new promise of learning, giving and joy. Many companies today are embracing mindfulness and other calming practices as a way to increase performance and engagement.

3. Find value in every context. My dad often says, “Commit first and answers always follow.” Too often, we wait for clear answers to our problems before we will commit our time and energy. When we commit to engaging and enjoying all of our circumstances, we will increase our wisdom to lead. Even the painful, frustrating and mundane carry an opportunity.

This moment shall pass. If it’s beautiful, write it down, take a picture and remember it. And, if it’s boring or difficult, don’t wish it away. Either way, be there for it.

When was the last time you tried to capture a moment or felt time slipping through your fingers? What did you do to be present in the present?



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