When my children were young we read a popular book called “Where’s Waldo? The main character Waldo had adventures and was embedded in complex illustrations with thousands of other images. The reader’s job was to find Waldo, a remarkable character known for his tortoise-rim glasses, striped shirt and beanie hat. Waldo sent eager parents and young children looking for the presence of a reassuring character in the midst of visual chaos.
How many of us know how to find Waldo for ourselves and why does that matter to leadership and influencers?
Because being able to search and find your own inner Waldo is a task that has direct relevance for the inside job of leadership.
To find your own inner Waldo requires that you stop allowing the non-stop thoughts of yesterday and worries about tomorrow to take over. Instead, allow your entire mind, body, and being to enter and experience the present moment. Finding Waldo goes against everything that falls into our busy, complex lives. We get lost in our lives just as we get lost in the complex illustrations from the Waldo books. As a result, we can’t bring all of ourselves to a conversation, task, project or idea, or relationship.
What does it take to find your Waldo?
- First, a desire to comprehend that the present moment is the most important and powerful one we have. Rather than staying stuck in what has already happened or ruminating about the uncertain future, obtain clarity about the importance of the present. Then everything else will shift.
- Once you have awareness of the present moment and its power, commit to act upon what you know. This requires breaking the habits of repetitive, distracted, wandering anxious thoughts that plague most of us 90% of our waking hours.
The good news is that the brain CAN be re-trained, and that you can do it from anywhere, anytime. In time, and with repetition, this becomes a habit and way of life.
- Begin by sitting in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
- Simply sit up straight or lie down flat on the floor, allowing for the integrity of the spine.
- Then place your hand upon your belly.
- Take a long, slow deep inhalation in through your nose and exhale through your mouth, very slowly. Try inhaling and exhaling for the same number of counts to even out the inflow and outflow of air. Feel your belly going in and out with each deep inhalation and exhalation. Your hand will rise and fall and this is how you will know you are breathing from the belly and not from the top of the lungs which is the shallow breath of fear and anxiety.
If you commit to this simple practice several times a day, you will feel more calm, peaceful and focused. Finding Waldo will be a cinch, and you may discover that is just the beginning of how much easier other things will become.
If this strikes a chord with you, please visit my website and request a free 30-minute “Break Through Your Barriers Strategy Session.” It’s a quick way to get started.