It’s hard to believe we are well into October already. And whether we’re ramping up activity to ensure a strong 4th quarter or preparing for the holiday season ahead, many of us are finding that our to-do lists – and our days – are starting to get longer. These increasing demands on our time and attention can distract us from focusing on the people and things we care about most, and weaken the commitments we have made to them. That’s why I am suggesting that you take a few moments to reflect on those things that are of paramount importance to you and renew your commitment to them…..starting right now.
The connection between care and commitment is vital. We act on what we are committed to, and we are committed to what we care about. When you are clear about what you care about, you can engage others in your team and organization in similar discovery. To do this, you must first learn to ‘be.” This simple act will change everything in your world.
The Care Package Exercise
In my book, Step Up Now: 21 Powerful Principles for People Who Influence Others, I offer a simple yet powerful exercise that begins with centering and renews and strengthens your focus on your highest priorities. Practice this every day and you’ll enter 2013 like an unstoppable force of nature – I promise.
Sit in a favorite, quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed.
Take a deep, slow inhalation, starting from the belly and breathe through the nose for 7 seconds. Make sure you are breathing from the belly, not from the lungs.
Feel the breath as it rises up from the belly all the way up to the top of the lungs. Hold the breath for 7 seconds. Then exhale from the top of the lungs all the way back down to your belly as you expel the air through your mouth. Take a full 7 seconds for the exhalation.
Repeat this process 3-5 times. Simply notice what you feel. Pay close attention to the sensations of your experience. This practice is called centering, and it is fundamental to all the new work you will be doing. It may feel awkward at first, but stick with it. In time, it will be more comfortable and you may even grow to cherish this ritual.
- Take 15 minutes to write in a journal a list of up to 50 things you care about.
- Then rank, order, and prioritize the top 10
- Who will you have to be in order to accomplish these 10 things?
- What will you have to know in order to accomplish them?
- What will you have to do; what actions will you need to take?
- Write a list of 10 ways in which you care for yourself. Do it quickly. Write the first 10 things that come to mind. Review the list.
Is there anything missing that calls for your attention? Where have you put the emphasis in your life? On being? On knowing? On doing? Just notice your priorities. Do you need to allocate your attention differently?
Being is a present-moment exercise. Be committed to right now, not later. If not now, when?
I encourage you to make centering a foundational element of your day. Practice it as if your life depends on it.