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Be Present

Must Be Present To WinI recently read the book, “FISH!” by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen. This book illustrates the unique workplace environment found at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. When you visit the market, it is not unusual to see a fresh Wild King Salmon flying overhead into the arms of a bright-eyed customer. These fishmongers have turned an underwhelming profession into a world-class atmosphere with a a few short principles. One of those principles is to “Be Present”.

While in the workplace I have noticed a budding negative habit. I have felt that because I am busy I need to work on multiple projects at once. This could mean something as little as letting my mind wander in a meeting, to working on my laptop while talking on the phone. Contrary to making me more productive, this has made the quality of my work less appealing. When I read “FISH!” it struck me; I had become so spread-thin across many different projects that I was beginning to lose
my passion and drive.
I made the simple conscious change to be more present in my work. It made all the difference!

“Be Present” means that when you are with someone or something, that you are not distracted by something else; your mind is focused on the project or person at hand. For example, when I would answer the phone, I would often look at my email. Being present would suggest that I avoid that practice. I should focus on the phone call and helping the person on the other end. Being present means that when I meet with my students that I focus my energy on them and not get distracted when someone walks by or when the phone rings. Being present means that when I am in a meeting I am not checking my phone or working on other projects.

This small change has had powerful results. Because I am more invested in projects, I have more satisfaction and joy from working on them. Because I am consciously keeping myself present in one-on-one’s with my students, I have noticed greater idea and work reciprocation from those students. Because I am present in meetings instead of on my phone, I get more out of them.

So how can you be more present? When you talk with a customer, consciously listen to every word they are saying, and respond with non-verbal feedback. When you are on your work phone with a client, pledge to never check your email. When you are in staff meeting, instead of checking Facebook, provide your input. You will notice great results from these small changes. Look for other ways to be more present in your workplace and make the necessary changes.

In “FISH!”, a fishmonger says, “that when you aren’t present, you simply bring yourself back to now. There’s nothing magical or mystical about it. All it takes is awareness, commitment and practice.”

Sean also recently wrote about being present in the workplace and life. Check out his article by clicking here.


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