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  • Writer's pictureDana Hillman

Sustainability, Not Beating the Kids & Blowing an Interview . . .

Contrary to popular thought, this title didn’t fall out of my diaper or originate from a “Substance” fueled evening; “Sustainability, Not Beating the Kids (or dogs for that matter) & Blowing an Interview” all have a common denominator . . . “Presence” / “Awareness” or the lack thereof. We experience this when we’re in what many call the “Zone.” It’s in those moments that we experience a higher level of “Presence” or “Awareness” and less "Thinking" - just by being in the moment. In Eastern philosophy they call this being connected to our “Knower”- the real us the part of us that can distinguish between the movie playing in our head and the reality of each situation. In other words, to be able to distinguish between the part of us performs the thinking (the computer) from the part of us that holds wisdom - that “Knows” the thoughts we create (the operator of the computer). If you haven’t meditated or sat quietly on purpose, give it a shot. You’ll quickly realize that “Not thinking” is damn near impossible. Then again, the beauty of it all is realizing that “Not thinking” is “Not the point.” The goal is to develop a healthy relationship with the part of us that “Thinks” and the part of us that holds the “Wisdom.” For most of us, there is the belief that the mind is were wisdom is stored . . . Couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not being a slave to every thought you have and developing the ability to discriminate between your perception of what's happening vs. what's really happening, is the equivalent of releasing ourselves from a daily, moment to moment hostage crisis. When that happens, things inexplicably begin to flow and happen without nearly as much effort. Sustainability. Living a “Sustainable” satisfying life (emotionally and physically) doesn’t come by just “Thinking” but by being more “Present” which is exponentially easier and harder at the same time. When we’re in the moment and not consumed by thought, we naturally make choices that are aligned with our values. We turn off lights without thinking, choose to ride our bike to the store instead of driving the Hummer, or choose to eat what’s local and in season instead of the industrially produced, tasteless tomato that’s traveled half way around the world. We may even give up the plastic water bottle for one that’s reusable - but hey, baby steps first. Not beating the kids. There’s no better litmus test for being present than hanging out with kids (any kids will do by the way, they don’t have to be yours). Kids have a way of truly exposing us; they don’t just prefer to have us present and accounted for, they demand it. Try mentally wandering off on a telephone call when you’re supposed to be hanging out with a child. Destroying the house, slinging food & screaming until hearing loss occurs, are but a few gentle ways they remind us that we’re not in the moment - not present. The next time this happens, observe how you handle it. If you can shift your awareness, you’ll recognize that they just want you present; if not, you’ll do what most unaware parents do, react to the bad behavior - in ugly ways most often. Blowing a job interview: We’ve all blown a job interview or a business call at one point or another. Surprisingly enough, most of us try to overcome the problem -which usually originates from us thinking too much and not being present, by thinking even harder & concocting excuses or supporting reasons why things didn’t happen the way we want them to. I see this one a lot as an executive recruiter - from both my clients and candidates, and myself. When I’m backgrounding or when I take a set of assumptions or expectations to an interview, inevitably things go wrong. I’ve learned from experience that when I’m wrapped around the axle in thought, pushing my thoughts on clients or candidates to act in a certain way instead of being present and listening without judgment, I close myself down to opportunities that may exist within that conversation. Being present and focusing on the other person in that moment, not only helps us interpret subtle clues, but is infectious and spreads quickly to the other person. Common phrases like “They Get it!” or “They’re Authentic or Real,” tend to come out of conversations where one or more parties is actually present. Go figure & by all means, go practice!

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