Be Present in a Distracting World

It is most certainly a distracting world, right? You've all been there. You're on a conference call of some kind, and while you're required to be present, you have more important things to do. So, you hit the mute button while you half-listen to what's happening on the call.

Or, you're on a video call, and you're driving. Pause, and consider the logic of this.

Maybe you're on a video call using your cell phone, and you're moving around making everyone else on the call dizzy.

Sometimes people do calls from coffee shops. Nothing against coffee shops, but are they ever quiet? Though the whirring of blended drinks might be inspiring white noise while you do work, it's amplified and annoying to people who would rather hear the content of the call.

Why do people think this is okay? I've been guilty of this myself at times when I was unaware, unintentional and oblivious to my surroundings. The cost of checking half-in can be dramatic -- both from what I receive and what I give.

It's so easy to be distracted these days. Blips and beeps and ringtones (all of which we have supreme control over) take us out of the conversation we might be having and into the device demanding our attention.

There is always so much to do! Society and technology take multi-tasking to extreme levels, even though we can only do justice to one thing at a time.

Remember what it feels like when you’re in the middle of a conversation with someone and they take their phone out? Instead, what if we committed to being where we are with our full attention?

Next time you commit to giving up precious time to be in a dialogue involving technology, what if you commit to genuinely showing up with your whole self? What if your standard operating procedure for all conversations were to:

  • Turn your alerts off if you're in conversation with someone.
  • If you're on video, stay still.
  • Find a quiet place to connect, void of distracting noise.
  • If you commit to being on a call, show up on time and stay until it ends.
  • If unexpected background noise occurs, by all means, mute.
  • If you do mute your speaker, resist decreasing your attention.
  • Be all in, rather than part-way.
  • Bring your magnificence to all interactions.
  • Don't commit to being there if you're not willing to participate at this level.
  • Set an intention in advance for a powerful interaction where you are both the giver and the receiver.

You may be getting the idea this is about technology. It is -- and it isn’t. How you show up in the world matters. It matters to me, to you, and to everyone who experiences you. I know when I am ‘all-in’, everyone wins. Our undivided attention is available to us at any given time, once we choose to see the value of offering it.

Which kind of life would you like to live? It’s a question worth considering since you are completely and unequivocally in charge of your choice.