Leadership Philosophy #2: Leaders Must Broaden Their Perspective Across Time
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
I believe that the most valuable gift you can give yourself and I might add others - is time. Taking time to be fully present. Your journey, to become inspired and connected to the deeper world around us – starts now. – Oprah
In the experience of developing a perspective on space, I also developed a perspective on – Time. Turns out that space and time are not quite independent.
Scarcity of Time:
For a long time, I had this adverse relationship with time. It really felt like it is my scarcest resource. As a result, I would find myself in fits of anxiety and panic. All I would pray for at times was – time. It would be nice to have ‘enough’ time, never mind the lofty idea of an ‘abundance’ of time. Ultimately, I discovered that the problem I and many other was suffering from is: The absence of presence.
Our ability to be present transcends the perceived limitations of time.
The gift of presence is truly the gift of time. Presence goes beyond our ability to be physically in attendance, it goes beyond our ability to even ‘focus’. It’s our ability to engage our whole being in the moment, to use all our senses – visible and invisible to connect. Presence is what allows us to get to the root of a challenge, instead of debating symptoms.
In a world where we are constantly, on to the next task before we are finished with the last, presence is truly challenging. So what? Twist: In the absence of presence, we are experiencing the presence of absence. The presence of absence is focused on emotional states: how we show up in spaces and how we connect with people before us.
“Our eyes record the presence of another person. Our bodies register their absence. The dissonance is exhausting. – Financial Times 2020 “
What happens when we are present?
1) You can take on a Beginners Mind:
a. How often do you get stuck in a pattern of doing the same things day after day?
b. Do you frequently think the same thoughts?
c. How often do you ruminate on the same old storylines?
d. Are you haunted by indecision on the same problems?
e. Do you hit up against the same resistance to getting something done?
Consumed by various cognitive biases and limiting belief systems, your range of possibilities can quickly shrink to a restrictive few. In this state, your creative energy is stagnant. Even though you may not realize it, your world gets relatively small. We are all familiar with this experience.
Why does this occur and what can we do to break this pattern right now?
People who are experts—CEOs among them—risk being trapped by their expertise into retracing old routes over and over, seeking assurance in what has worked in the past or for others.
This reliance on knowledge gained from past successes can, of course, sometimes pay off—but it can also hinder the explorations needed to uncover radical new ways of doing things.
In contrast, a beginner’s mindset relishes uncertainty.
The problem is that when you are an expert you actually need to pay more attention, not less. Why? Because when you are already familiar with 98 percent of the information on a topic, you need to listen very carefully to pick up on the remaining 2 percent. Which makes me think that true presence – on that engages all our being is something that is – uncomfortable for most. It demands of us – patience and most importantly – stillness. It’s not about tuning out and going on autopilot. Its about practicing being at peace with the state of not knowing, and feeding a childlike curiosity, with no expectations.
2) You create Space
I noticed that when I feel anxious, I literally feel like the space around me is closing in on me. Haunted by yesterday’s failures, emails, phone calls. Tomorrows deliverables I feel like I’m on tennis court and there is a machine throwing balls, and suddenly its goes crazy and starts throwing balls at me, and I’m running up and down the court trying to hit the ball, not even caring where it lands, just hit it if I can. And when I get tired, I just run and hide- but the balls keep coming and I just cry. And when I get up – I’m shaking, and all I desire is space.
So much that while I do not mind our tiny apartment – part of this quarantine had me looking longingly at AirBNBs for spacious- open floor plan apartments – near the mountains or the beach preferably.
The benefits of space are:
2. Connect the Dots
5. Access Creativity
6. Set priorities
7. Access your intuition
8. REST/ Reflect
You are then able to see further into the future, predict, and address emerging trends,
Even perceiving impact of delays and the inter-dependencies of past and future events; leaders develop a greater ability to course correct and navigate complex processes.