August 2015 Educate

The Fortuitous Leader: Learning To Be Present

Written By: Lisa Renshaw

Some of the best leaders in our lives are those we least expect, those we would never really consider as leaders. However, if we follow their lead, we may just find ourselves following a new way of thinking.

Two and a half years ago, I became a mother. It was the most daunting and exciting time of my life. I have embraced it with all my energy. At times, I have felt like I have no clue what I was doing. So, I followed my daughter’s lead. She let me know when she was hungry, tired, upset or wanting to play. As long as I was paying attention to her cues, I knew how best to respond. She led and I followed, in many respects. This was a new concept for someone who prefers to be in control and be the leader, not the follower.

Through the experiences of being a working mom, having to balance responsibilities to clients and to my daughter, life has come into a clear perspective. These experiences have sharpened my focus on what is really important to me: living and empowering others.

For as long as I can remember, I have believed that the busier I was and the more I hustled, the happier and more profitable I would be in my endeavors.

The world sends a message that busier is better. More is better. More stuff. More clients. More money. More of everything. The world teaches us that if you are sitting still, then you must not be doing anything productive…and that in order to be productive, you must be in a constant state of motion all the time. We now have the world at our fingertips on all of our mobile devices, so there is always something to look at, share, read, post, like, tweet, etc.

The real truth is that if we are in constant motion and never slow down, then we miss critical opportunities to learn from each other, experience life and be fully present with one another. This includes our interactions with clients. If we have meetings back to back without any buffer and spend all day jumping from one thing to the next, when do we allow ourselves an opportunity to connect and reflect?

My daughter is teaching me to stop and smell the flowers — all of them! We must always take a look and smell each and every one that she sees. In thinking of our busy schedule, I want to keep moving. She doesn’t understand schedules like most of us adults. She is enjoying all of what life is offering her, and what feeds her is the curiosity in the world around her. If I listen to her and take that moment to stop, I get the gift of a moment with her that I will remember. If I ignore her and pull her along, insisting on keeping MY schedule, then I have taught her that enjoying the world around us is not important.

The same can be true of listening to our clients. If we take the time to stop and listen to what they are saying about their dreams, goals and ideas, then we can serve them more fully and our passions for their dreams will show in the work we produce. That shared passion will help drive their successes, which is the ultimate goal. Be fully present with those you are talking to because business is about relationships. You can’t cultivate relationships if you are not fully present.

I am now discovering that I can have passion without being overwhelmed. By slowing down, I can actually explore and cultivate my passion in a more focused way, allowing things to flow, including profit. I have learned that being a good leader means sometimes stepping back to allow others to take the lead.

I believe we can learn a thing or two from children. They have a never-ending curiosity about the world around them and are present in each moment.

Make a point to stop; look at the stars, smell the flowers, enjoy the bright blue sky, laugh at the little things, delight in the ladybugs, dance, sing, boogie to a song in your car, watch the wildlife outside your window, take a longer meeting with your client. Take some time each day to disconnect, listen and look inward at your heart. There, you will find peace. There, you will find your passion, joy and balance.

When was the last time you stopped to smell the flowers? Are you fully present at the activities and meetings you engage in, or are you thinking about the next thing on the schedule?

Lisa Renshaw is the founder of Blu Dove, a team of creative and advertising professionals with a combined 30+ years of experience. By providing one-on-one time with all of their clients, they fully understand the client’s business and focus on their growth with short and long term goals in mind.

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