Being Present in 2018

The baseline assumption: It’s a great privilege for someone to open up their schedule for you, and it’s a right for them to expect to have you (all of you) for that time. Here are some thoughts on how to show up, not be late and not be distracted in 2018…

  • “E” FOR EFFORT — It’s not always easy to get out there. Sometimes, you need to make an effort. So, first, be open to the potential of being present.
  • THE “I” IN “SELFISH” — Presence is great, though it’s not always possible. If you can’t fully give your attention, be selfish and focus on #1. You need to be good with yourself before you can be good for others.
  • E.T. PHONE HOMIE — Sometimes you just can’t be there. You’ll probably want to text or email instead, though I bet the sound of your voice would go a long way if you can’t be present. Next time you’re in that scenario, pick up the phone and give a call.
  • BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU WANT — God (or religion writ large) might not be your thing, but it may be a vital part of someone else’s presence. Even if you don’t live south of the Mason Dixon, it’s important to understand and respect this.
  • DISCONNECT — This goes without saying, though a big part of presence is removing the potential for distraction… cell phones, apple watches, Tamagotchi, pogs… keep them away! Emergencies happen, but an hour or two here and there on “airplane mode” is never a bad thing.
  • HEAR YOU ME — Listening is a cognitive skill, while hearing is simply physiological. When present, in conversation, don’t simply hear a person and wait for them to pause so you can interject. Listen intently, and respond well.
  • SPREAD THE WEALTH — Not everyone in your circle loves the idea of being out and about. In your efforts, invite your people to get out there with you. Grab a drink, volunteer, see a concert.
  • IN VENERE VERITAS — It could be the Irish-Catholic-Jewish guilt, but I believe painfully in honesty and telling the truth at all times. And sometimes, people really need that, so keep it in mind when you’re out and about.
  • WE OVER ME — Hard to believe, but there are just some people out there whose company we don’t enjoy. However, everybody sometimes needs somebody. Once in a while, go out of your way to be there with (or for) someone, even if they’re unsavory.
  • SERVICE, WITH A SMILE — You don’t have to look hard to find Debbie or Donny Downer, and they can suck the life out of so many experiences. If you’re going to put yourself out there, kill ‘em with kindness… even if they don’t deserve it.

Small southpaw writing about nonprofits, creativity, kindness, and life.

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