Last Friday morning I gave myself the gift of a yoga class. I turn to yoga as exercise – for the mind, body, and spirit – and also as replenishment (again for the mind, body, and spirit). It’s my chance to pause, stop trying (although sometimes I have to admit I try in yoga), and calm the seemingly endless chatter in my brain through my breath, focus, and movement. It is a haven for me.
A few hours later, as I was on the phone with my business partner looking through an agenda for a client program I had revised, I couldn’t find the agenda I had heavily revised. I feared that in my stressed-out, too-much-to-do, lack of mindfulness mood of the past few days, I had indeed revised the agenda, and then closed the document without saving it. I feared my work was entirely gone. I freaked. My throat tightened; my voice got harsh; my words were harsh (at me and at my partner). I abruptly got off the phone to find the agenda and fix the situation.
But it was gone. I had, in my non-mindfulness, deleted my changes. I called my partner back, angry at myself, at the world, and at our work. Oh, and at myself again. I launched into a conversation, explaining what I’d done and, I’m sure, complaining (and perhaps cursing) my way through. My partner paused.
“Didn’t you go to yoga this morning?” she asked. “Yeah,” I replied hesitatingly. “Why?” “Well,” she continued, “Why do you go if it doesn’t work?”
That broke the moment and broke my mood. The agenda was gone. I’d messed up and had to rework all that I’d worked out. But it wasn’t that big a deal and, as we teach clients, I had a choice as to whether or not I was going to let it ruin my day. As to whether or not I was going to let it ruin even five more minutes.
Stuff happens. We mess up. I mess up all the time. I can be one to ruminate on my mistakes, to harbor resentment towards myself (and sometimes others), to make my situation – and definitely my day – worse by not being able to let go and move on. But I’ve learned to do things differently. I had forgotten in the moment, but my partner’s loving harshness reminded me.
Being Thoughtful and in the moment hopefully means we won’t close documents without saving them. But it also means that when we do, we’ll pull ourselves together and choose to respond rather than react. In that moment I could choose to stay angry and waste my energy slamming things around, or I could use my energy to rework the work I did and remember the brilliant changes I had made. It is a choice. It is always a choice. That’s why I go to yoga – to remember (or to let myself be willing to be reminded) to make this choice.
What helps you stay Thoughtful and in the moment?
Please leave a comment to share.
For help in responding Thoughtfully rather than reacting, contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to receive The Thoughtful Leaders™ Blog posts via e-mail and receive a copy of “Ending Leadership Frenzy: 5 Steps to Becoming a More Thoughtful and Effective Leader.”
Click here to purchase The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be.