Friday Five: Staying in the moment

As leaders, we spend a lot of time thinking about the future, don’t we? Whether we are going through the visioning process or striving to meet personal or professional goals, leaders typically have a futuristic mindset. We get excited about the future (as we should) and we love to let our minds wander about all the possibilities that exist within the days, months, and years to come. We enjoy wondering what’s next – in our career, with our family, and with other things that are important to us. For many, the future can provide a sense of motivation and purpose because we are goal oriented.

But because of the many unknowns and all the different variables, thinking about the future can take a lot of time. And sometimes, it can remove us from the present. From the now. It can distract us from our daily interactions with others, from the beauty of our daily lives, from our relationships, and from our daily thoughts.

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What would happen if we could pause for a moment each day to embrace the present moment? Would we be able to relax a bit more and stress a bit less? Would we be able to accomplish more and increase our productivity? Would our relationships flourish? Would our momentum continue building?

Staying in the moment is tough and it typically doesn’t come naturally. We are constantly surrounded by so many distractions and disruptions in our lives. We have short attention spans and busy schedules and the “present moment” flies by so quickly.

Here are my 5 tips for staying in the moment:

Pause.
Being intentional in your daily routine can be the first step to staying in the moment. Pausing allows you to recognize that you want to shift your mindset to that very moment. It helps you to actively think about what you are doing and to escape the chaos surrounding you in that moment.

Reflect.
Taking the time to reflect allows you to embrace the present moment. It can help you to recognize everything that is happening and develop an increased appreciation for the beauty of that moment. Reflect upon the stillness surrounding you. Reflect upon the sights and sounds that you are immersed in.

Breathe.
Though breathing is such a natural process, intentional breathing can provide you with so much control in the moment. Breathing allows you to de-stress, relax and be fully present in the moment.

Write.
Writing is a powerful practice. Pausing in the moment and capturing your thoughts, feelings, and environments will help to solidify the value of staying in the moment. Writing in the moment allows you to focus your attention and energy while capturing a glimpse of the most still moments of your life.

Repeat.
Repeating this process will make it more natural. Before you know it, you will find yourself enjoying the little things in life more and making the most of every moment. You will be more engaged in conversations and more present with your family, friends, and colleagues.

Will you make it a priority to intentionally stay in the moment? Will you embrace the beauty of everyday life? Will you pause, reflect, breathe, and write a little bit more today
Let’s do it together.

Blake is a marketing and community engagement intern at LeaderShape and a graduating senior at Missouri State University studying public relations. Blake enjoys unplugging and recharging by kayaking, hiking, and reading a good book.

A Few Words From Paul: What does all this mean?

I have referenced Victor Frankl’s work, Man’s Search for Meaning, many times throughout my career and in my personal life. So many times, that I should ask everyone before I mention it, “Have I told you about Victor Frankl already?” You know you are getting old when you start to tell the same stories repeatedly. I keep telling myself they work so I keep on telling them. Persistence, I guess.

Anyway, I believe we all go through tough times, and if we are not, we need to push the envelope a little more because that is where personal growth happens. Phrases like the following: “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” “I never said it was easy, I only said it was worth it,” “No pain, no gain,” etc., etc., etc. Most all of these focus on the meaning we assign to the events that take place in our lives. We can endure anything if the “why” is strong enough.

It is our choice to create the meaning we attach to any event in our lives. Always.

Things happen and we decide what they mean to us. Usually, we do this through the stories we tell each other. Even more importantly, we do this through the stories we tell ourselves. That inner narrative is so crucial to our success, our vision, our leadership.
Those of us that can tell a different story – one of meaning, one of hope, one of possibility – can do amazing things with the time we have.

Unfortunately, many of us tell a different story. A story of excuses. A story of lost opportunity. A story of unfairness.

What is your story? What meaning do you attach to what happens to you in your life? I recently finished the book, The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith, and it blew me away. I read so much that it is rare for me to get giddy about a book, but this one did it to me. It speaks to what we do at LeaderShape…helping people find their purpose, their meaning, their vision.

I could not stop thinking about the differences between having a vision and having meaning or purpose in your life. Is there a difference? I think so, and I think the big one is that if you have meaning behind your vision, you keep going. You persist. You persevere. You do what it takes to make it happen.

You also realize that having meaning or purpose in your life may be enough. All you need to have a wonderful life.

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I wonder how the world would be different if everyone just knew their purpose. How they are uniquely qualified to make a difference in the world. Even without the accomplishment of achieving your vision, I think we would feel a little more secure and be a little more resilient when things happen in the world that we don’t understand.

Take a few moments today and think about your purpose. Not your vision, but your purpose. Why you are here.

Share it with us at LeaderShape.

That’s our purpose.


Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog.

LeaderShape Alive: Change

By: Joanna Lindstrom, L Professional Writing

Is change such a bad thing? Sometimes our reluctance to embrace change makes us think so. Or, perhaps it is a false notion that change is associated with the negative.

carolinekFor Institute graduate, Caroline (Welch) Kipp, change is an important part of her vision.

A year before her roommate, Heather, attended the LeaderShape Institute, Caroline created a vision to change the journalism industry with journalists who report with integrity.

That vision started with her. After graduating one of her first jobs was working for a small, weekly newspaper in Denver. In the newsroom and during interviews, Caroline dedicated herself to her vision, leading by example. She maintained all ethical reporting practices – distance between advertisers, interviewing multiple sources, reporting controversial topics, and ultimately creating unbiased, professional stories.

Then, somewhere between the world of social media and rising independent bloggers, the journalism industry radically changed. Journalists of today work for themselves, instead of papers. Blogs and social media have all but replaced paper newspapers.

Caroline changed with it but has ultimately stayed true to her vision.

After her job at the paper, she worked in communications for the school board association and now, working in public relations for a growing town in Colorado.

“My profession and the world of journalism has changed, but the essence of my vision remains the same,” Caroline said.

Caroline continues to lead by example, but this time in her office and not in the newsroom. She has to tackle difficult communications projects like writing the town’s “blue book” for every election season. This requires her dedication to writing with integrity, and writing both sides of the issue with an unbiased perspective.

No matter where her professional life takes her, Caroline’s dedication to communicating with integrity will come with her.

“Information will always be a vital piece of our world, and the way we get it is changing rapidly,” Caroline said. “In a time where facts become true just by virtue of being posted online, journalists who report with integrity – and the PR folks who provide that information in many cases – are simply vital.”

What’s your story? We want to share all stories of LeaderShape visions and the ways they have adapted and changed over time. Leave a comment below or send us an email.

img_20160307_201446Joanna (Thomas) Lindstrom is a writer/editor and the third roommate of Caroline and Heather. She primarily writes grants for medium-sized nonprofits but also dabbles in blog, newswriting, and fiction. Joanna lives in Colorado with her husband, toddler, and slightly neurotic Schnauzer. She loves living close enough to meet with Caroline and Heather regularly. Visit her online: lprowriting.com