I’ve spoken with friends and colleagues about a philosophy I’ve worked hard to adopt and practice daily. It is simply – Be Present.
What do these two simple words mean to me? They mean I am to invest myself in the present moment without getting caught up in things that have happened and things that need to or will happen. If I’m having a conversation with someone, they are the most important person to me in the whole world while I’m talking with them. I strive to set aside my agenda and intently listen to the conversation. I try not to let my mind wander.
So what I was saying was…
What is next on my to-do list? That’s right, I need to talk to Jan in accounts receivable about getting the Bahousky account caught back up…
You know what I mean?!
Uh oh… What were they talking about… Something about Jan? I don’t know… c’mon! Say SOMETHING!
I know, right?! Totally unbelievable…
I’m busted… they know I wasn’t paying attention…
As a sales professional, I have had to really learn to listen, and not to just the words, but also the message and tone of the message.
My other sales rep always does that to me!
I’m certain that whatever it is, it isn’t ALWAYS happening, but it has happened enough to create a negative feeling in this person, and if their expectations are to be exceeded, it would be wise not to repeat the actions of those before you, be it competition or otherwise.
Being present has revealed a lot to me about how people work, what makes them happy, and more obviously what makes them unhappy. How? Most people are all too glad to bend the ear of someone who is willing to sincerely listen to them, and listen for meaning and understanding instead of just listening to reply. Most people will tell you exactly what their concerns are if you simply set aside your motives and genuinely listen to them.
But… what else can being present mean?
What I have started to learn recently applies directly to my career. In the past, I tended to keep my eyes pointed forward, searching for the next opportunity to come along, instead of being present and excelling where I am in time, right this moment.
I was never happy with where I was because my gaze was already locked on the next step. I must admit, this has caused me to stumble and fall a couple of times. Now, I can say I’ve paused long enough to take in what I do. I have allowed myself the time and given myself permission to figure out where my strengths and weaknesses are, and to be honest with myself to the point of being able to say which areas I can realistically improve, and what I need to simply understand that I’m not good at. I fully understand the business side of a restaurant and can competently navigate my way through the obstacles that come with the territory of running a restaurant, but I may never be able to handle the dinner rush at that restaurant. I mean, I can cook, but to be able to keep up with a full line of orders pouring off the ticket printer… I don’t think that falls within my strengths. Anyways…
Career-wise, where I’m at right now as I write this does not have the best pay and I have no benefits through them. What I have gained by working for them is the time and space to understand what makes me happy and what does not, what I truly value in an employer and what I despise. I feel that had I jumped into another full-time high-pressure job right after my last one I would have never had this chance.
I can honestly say that I am happy with the work I do, because for the first time ever I am present at work. It may not pay well, and I have nothing else to sweeten the deal, but I am happy. I have commited to myself that I will be the best salesman I can be while I am with this team, and I hope that when it is time to take the next step along my career path that I leave them better than they were before me. Once it is time to take that step, it will not be out of desperation, neccessity, or shallow greed. I refuse to let those or any other negative factors drive my life anymore! The next step will be to follow my heart, and I’m absolutely sure that I will not have trouble finding happiness once again