As an individual navigating the great wide world of business, I customarily spend several weeks at the end of December and into January evaluating myself: what I did well, lessons I learned, and places where I failed spectacularly. I am easily my harshest critic. Then, I dust myself off, and formulate my goals for the future – aka my “better-Carolann” plan.
In 2016, I retrained myself to adapt to what some may refer to as the new “standard” resolutions: I get up from my desk and walk 10,000 steps a day; I write handwritten thank you notes to customers and friends; I practice mindfulness when managing my staff; I no longer tell my customers that I am “too busy.” Now what?
For me, the now what in 2017 is going to be all about exploring presence — my presence at work, at home, and throughout all aspects of my life.
This emerging idea of being present, of being truly in the moment in order to be your best self, caught my attention in the TEDTalk by Social Psychologist and Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy. Presence asks you not to become lost in your smartphone or tablet, or the argument you had that morning at home, or thoughts about what you will be cooking for dinner. Instead, it asks you to focus all your energy on the specific task at hand. Cuddy argues that it is only then that you truly can be your most-incredibly shining, fabulous you. I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the idea.
I know that I work hard every day, as I am certain we all do. But do I allow myself to be present for the victories? Am I present during meetings with colleagues? Am I present with my spouse when I finally return home? In a world where news, information, emails, images, thoughts, conversations, and so much more, are right in the palm of my hand, do I allow myself to be present or do I allow the “noise” to distract me?
Imagine all that is possible at work (and in the rest of our lives) if we tackled each task with 100-percent presence.
Cuddy, in her first book, shared many brilliant insights, but the one that I will be carrying with me as I step into 2017 is this: “Focus less on the impression you’re making on others and more on the impression you’re making on yourself.” I may not be able to control the world, but I can control who I am.
If you are as intrigued by this idea as I am and would like to explore it further, stop by your favorite Somerset County Library branch to check out Amy Cuddy’s “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges.” Alternatively, if you are looking for a different type of inspirational read to kick-start your New Year, swing on by the library, and one of our expert staffers will be able to recommend a book especially for you.