How Present Are You?

If we want others to invest in us, we need to invest in them.

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The other night I did the parent-thing that I swore I’d never do. My kiddo was talking a million miles an hour and I was….well yes, I was on Facebook…and according to witness testimony, I was nodding and smiling and responding to what he was telling me. 10 minutes later my kiddo came back into the room and made reference to what he had said earlier and I turned to my husband and said, “Did he just say he got an A on his Science test?” My husband said, “Yes. He told you that 10 minutes ago. You even said, “That’s great, Jeremy! I’m so proud of you!”

I have no memory of that exchange. None. I’d swear it didn’t happen, except my husband assures me it did.

I’m a bit horrified Horrified for many reasons, among them:

(a) I was so not-present during this conversation (yes, the woman who teaches the importance of being present )

(b) That in the midst of being so not-present, apparently I was faking being present (yup, that’s right, the authenticity-chick…)

The irony of it all.

Here’s the thing. What I’ve come to realize is that no matter how much I learn and practice and commit to being my best, I mess up. It happens. It’s part of the being-human-thing. Oh by the way, you do too. It’s nothing personal. We all do.

Thankfully, I suspect I’ll get many opportunities to practice being more present with Jeremy. I sincerely hope I improve – as I the legacy I want to leave with him is that he’s worth it to me – to be present. That I’m interested in what he has to say. That he’s important.

But I know this isn’t true for many employees. What I’ve heard from participants over, and over, and over again, is that if their leaders aren’t present, they won’t come back for more. They stop bringing ideas. They stop sharing their challenges and their wins. They stop turning to their leaders for support. They stop caring. At least about their leader.

You see, when people sense that we’re not invested in them – that they’re not important enough – they stop investing in us.

As a leader, can you afford that?

Being present is probably one of the hardest things in the world to do. It’s hard to do as a parent. It’s hard to do as a leader. Heck, it’s hard to do as a human! We’ve got so many things competing for our attention!

But it’s worth it.

©OnStage Leadership  #BraveLeadership

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