Tag: Presence

A Nyepi day

Nyepi Day of Silence
My view this Sunday morning

Nyepi is the Balinese “day of silence”, a sacred day of silence on Bali, for self-reflection, silence, meditation.

From post in March 2018: Silence and Nyepi – Less is More

This weekend I took a very quiet 24 hours from the middle of the day Saturday to Sunday, heading to the country to stay with friends.

This daily post is therefore posted not at 8am, but later on Sunday. Felt wonderful to be offline. Refreshed and recharged.

Enjoy the moments

Swimming Enjoy the Moments

Good looking guy, huh?

Not sure about the bloke with the dodgy moustache though!

This was Sunday evening right before the very last race of the ISL Meet in London. I’ve been a swim official for a long time, on this occasion and on this evening I was the judge at the start/finish end in one of the two centre lanes, hence right there when the cheers went through the roof before the final race between Manadou (the “unit” with the ‘tache) and Morozov for the “Skins” win.

Now, as an official, we must always be impassive and focussed, our role is to ensure the sporting integrity of every race and the event, irrespective of the atmosphere and scale. In other words, sorry about the serious face!

It was, therefore, only after the event that I took time later that evening to really enjoy the moment, the event. That photo is a shot from the TV that one of my sons in the Cayman Islands took while they watched the event live. When I got home that night we had a fun video chat about the meet and shared the experience.

Now, flipping back to leadership and business, I ask you, too, to enjoy the moments. When you have a big moment, celebrate it. In particular, celebrate it with your team. Appreciate them, acknowledge them, hit the pause button and enjoy.

For me, when I hit the pause button I could recognise that, without my sons choosing to be competitive swimmers many years ago (and they have all since retired from the sport), I would never have been there at the very heart of that truly amazing moment. Thank you, boys x

Knowing yourself

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom - Aristotle Quote

The last few weekends have been, as one says in Britain “full-on” for me, including Kilkenomics , before that Basecamp.London, and just the last two days at Meaning Conference then a workshop led by Nilofer Merchant.

Next weekend I am officiating both days at the amazing International Swimming League event at the London Aquatic Centre, then the following weekend is in the country visiting friends, then the following two weekends will see me back home in Cayman visiting family and friends and working with clients. Those trips back are definitely always “full-on”!

So, this weekend I have virtually no plans, so am writing this a little later than usual on a Saturday morning, sitting in my red checked pyjama trousers, then here I shall remain, quietly, for much of the day.

You see, I’ve known this quiet weekend was in the calendar for some time and consciously have not filled it with meeting friends, with activities. I’m actually quite introverted, so after lots of massively stimulating events and meetings with people in recent weeks, like most introverts, every so often I need to time to recharge by being quietly on my own.

With that, time to make a cup of coffee and pick up a book.

Enjoy your weekend.

We are feeling creatures that think, not thinking creatures that feel

feeling and dance

“Although many of us think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, biologically we are feeling creatures that think.”

Jill Bolte Taylor

Recently I was at an amazing two-day collaborative event, Basecamp.London. Each participant chose a “challenge” to be part of. I chose to be part of the Diversity and Inclusion table.

Little did I know how strongly I would FEEL a massive learning around both Diversity and Inclusion.

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Handling cognitive dissonance like THE Boss

cognitive dissonance bruce springsteen boss quote

Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort felt by a person who holds two or more conflicting ideas, beliefs or values at the same time.

Leadership is about people, so understanding people is clearly key. For self-leadership, then, self-awareness is key.

As humans we seek cognitive consonance, rather than cognitive dissonance, we seek for our attitudes, behaviours, beliefs, opinions, actions to be in harmony, to be consistent.

Understanding where we are out of alignment, dissonant vs consonant, is, therefore, a vital part of our self-awareness.

Someone who clearly gets that is known by his fans as “the Boss”.

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Be an editor

dundee banner editor

Chip Conley, in his focus upon Modern Elder, talks about how in the first half of our lives we focus on accumulating, but in the second half, we can turn our focus to editing.

From a place of awareness, we can choose to “edit” our lives. Stop trying to acquire more “stuff”, more assets, more wealth, more, more, more.

Instead, we can look to edit. Give stuff away, use only what we need.

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Finding a moment of Zen

zen artwork stag deer

This picture is of “Monarch of the Glen”, by Landseer. I wondered what it is that makes a picture of a deer so powerful and famous, until, that is, I saw the picture hanging at the National Gallery of Scotland. I was transfixed, rooted to the spot.

In our busy lives, we all sometimes need to find a “moment of zen”.

So, yesterday, I had such an indelible moment, with a majestic stag, so sharing with you all today.

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Brad Pitt gives a masterclass in Being and Presence.

Brad Pitt Presence Being Leonardo DiCaprio

I recently watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Tarantino and agree with Tom Shone of the Sunday Times that Brad Pitt was the heart of this movie and that he did it so simply and subtly.

“Once Brad Pitt stopped “acting”, he became a great movie star…{years ago} Pitt learnt..not to act but to be… {so that, in this movie}… Pitt just lets the role, and the audience, come to him”

In an earlier post on this site: “Doing from Being“, I wrote:

What if.. we focussed on our “Being” and then choosing to “Do” what is fully aligned with who we are, so “Doing from Being”? 

In his book Walden, Henry Thoreau had many great quotes, such as: 

“All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”

Leonardo di Caprio was great (as always) in the Tarantino movie, but he was doing acting. Brad Pitt, on the other hand, was simply being an actor, so clearly allowing himself to be truly present in each moment as he did so. The results are extraordinary.

Now, if we can add presence to being in our lives, our work, our leadership, we have the opportunity to be of even greater impact for others as we focus on these anchors.

Yes, many posts on this site are about business, leadership, tools, ideas into action etc. However, I will always repeatedly come back to our self-awareness, our being, our ability to be present, as these are, as Brad Pitt has come to recognise as he matured in life and as an actor, foundational to our work, our lives, our impact.

I leave you with this, by the British philosopher Alan Watts:

“The future is a concept — it doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as tomorrow. There never will be because time is always now. That’s one of the things we discover when we stop talking to ourselves and stop thinking. We find there is only present, only an eternal now.”

Be Present and simply Be.

Have a great Monday morning and a great week!

Less is more

less is more

Today is a consciously quiet day for me, with absolutely nothing planned, a day out to rest in the middle of a busy period.

So, a reminder today that sometimes less is more.

I’ll model that by making this one of my shortest daily posts ever.

What could you do less of this Sunday morning?

The tyranny of the blank page

blank page blank screen

At well over 600 daily posts on this site since I started that discipline, most days I love to write, some days I struggle to come up with something to write.

As Neil Gaiman put it:

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”

Today I woke up feeling like the blank screen would win.

I then realised that I’ve been on vacation for the last ten days and still wrote, that today I unexpectedly have one of my sons visiting me here in London for the first time in nearly a year.

So, sometimes it is good to recognise that life wins. To give myself permission to allow my focus to not stay on the blank page of the daily blog commitment, but instead to simply choose to share my presence wholly with him today.

I’ll see you all tomorrow.

Presence in the water

Presence in the water

Treading water in the Caribbean sea.

Nowhere to be, nothing to do.

First time I’ve done that in a long time. Realised in the moment that I wouldn’t take time to do it again for quite some time.

Chose to simply be absolutely present in that moment.

No idea how long I was out there, possibly ten minutes, maybe half an hour.

Something extraordinary about being truly present.

Now, when we are with someone else, how often are we truly present? When we can be absolutely and totally there, present to and for them, others do tend to experience that as a gift.

What an extraordinary world of speed and busy-ness we live in where the simple act of being present is so rare that we consider it a gift when someone else gives that to us.

Today is a wonderful day to do nothing

Winnie the Pooh - Favorite Day - Do Nothing

A grey and stormy day in Grenada at the most remote Caribbean hotel I’ve ever stayed at. After breakfast I remark to the owner: “this feels like a wonderful day to do nothing”.

“Isn’t every day a wonderful day to do nothing?”, he replied.

“That sounds like a ‘Winnie the Pooh’ quote“, I said.

We both laughed as I walked off down the hill to the terrace outside my room to read, to doze, and now to write this.

It may not have been a quote from Pooh bear, but it was indeed in that vein.

Also this morning, I was asked, quite philosophically: “who are you?”. After a doze, I thought to myself: “I’m a man who sometimes makes the simple too complex”.

Today is indeed a wonderful day to do nothing, to take Pooh as my role model.

Sometimes I overthink life and what it takes to be happy, fulfilled, contented.

Today. I think I will not think very much, I will simply do nothing.

53 Speed Bumps

speed bumps

It is 45km (28 miles) from the airport in Grenada to the remote and beautiful Petite Anse hotel.

How long would you figure it would take to drive there on the main road around the Caribbean side of this island of 100,000 people?

Perhaps you’d figure there is a highway, so it might take about 45 minutes, as it would do for a similar distance from the airport to the Reef Resort at the far tip of a similarly sized island, Grand Cayman.

No, in Grenada it takes about one and a half hours.

They even have speed bumps on the main road.

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Take a walk

Thames View Take a walk

Last week I wrote a post called “It is solved by walking“, itself linking to an earlier and more detailed post about the power of shifting context by walking.

I love to walk, it is so beneficial to the body and the mind. I also love to have coaching and other meetings while walking, with the London climate typically being excellent for that most of the year.

Yesterday I had one of my adult sons in town and we found ourselves walking, then walking some more, then walking some more. All in all, we walked over 20.5km (nearly 13 miles), spread over 11 hours out and about on a mile 18c day in London.

I don’t get to spend that much time with this son, so it was quite wonderful to simply share the experience of walking around so much of central London.

If you’d like to meet up with me anytime in London to have a chat, I’d love it. Offer to meet while we take a walk and I’ll be doubly keen!

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