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Attention, the most precious gift you can give to your client – The Magic of Nowness!
First – if you’ve got this far it stands a chance you’ve allocated a few minutes in your hectic timetable to read my blog for this month, so thanks for that! I imagine you may well be wondering as you read, what an intriguing topic?
So, what do I mean by ‘nowness’? For me, this describes the times when I have absolute ‘in the moment’ attention to my surroundings or situation. This happens to us all, most of the time out of our awareness.
So what are the benefits of ‘nowness’ to your business and indeed your personal life?
The state of ‘nowness’ allows you to:
- Clear your thought processes of all the irrelevant stuff and chatter which goes on in our minds all of the time.
- Focus on the ‘here and now.’
- Gain control and clarity, creating a problem solving space.
- Create the capacity to observe in greater detail what is happening around you.
Imagine, how much more effective you will be in client meetings, interviews, negotiations and tasks requiring objectivity and creative thinking when you can consciously choose this technique?
As with all skills, we can learn to do this consciously. Firstly, we must remember to do it – initially this will be a conscious effort. Read on and you will find out how you can learn this.
I actually started this blog over 3 months ago, sitting under chestnut trees with hubby in a typical little square just under Montmartre, Paris. My legs were beginning to ache as we sat down on an old back to back bench. I’d taken part in my annual run from Paris to Versailles that morning and wore my medal under my track suit top with pride.
Sitting on that bench, I inadvertently allowed ‘nowness’ to gently envelop me. Perhaps it was the weariness and satisfaction after a race well run. Sitting there, memories flooded back from the many months I had spent in Paris over the years. Somehow I felt myself getting off the world, sitting on our bench, enjoying the space. Just sitting, noticing, thinking and just being. This led to reminiscing – the lovely old lady who tutored me in Boissy St Leger when I was a 12 year old, the baguettes, the Chocolat chaud , the distinctive smell of Gauloises and the sweet lingering smell from House of Holland pipe tobacco in the Metro.
Being in the state of ‘nowness’ made me aware of things I might not otherwise have noticed – the people passing and birds pecking at the crumbs amongst the leaves. An organ grinder, complete with beret, rumbled his barrow over the bumpy cobbles and with great ceremony and much panache, positioned himself in the centre of the square. Taking out concertina folded and very well used cardboard music cards, he fed them lovingly into his machine like making pasta. But more than anything I became aware of 3 old people chatting on the bench behind me. As a former French teacher, the way the older generation speak French is a constant source of delight to me – so easy to understand and so beautiful to my ear. Slow, steady and with charming clarity. Being attentive in the moment was weaving its own magic and enhancing the whole experience.
I began to become increasingly absorbed, totally entranced in their conversation. Sitting upright , shuffling my bottom and gently lending my ear I soon became aware of the topic of their chat. Food and their individual culinary skills and the passion with which they cooked, exquisitely described. I was transported into their kitchen with them. The sweet smells of herbs, the fried onions and the garlic. An old lady loved her coriander “Oh you must have coriander….ah oui!” Not sure why but gentle tears began to run down my cheeks. I was embarrassed .Oh no. Still in my running gear I had no handbag so no tissues. I rubbed my face with my jacket sleeve. The old man then added his favourite, carre´d’agneau. I could smell it. “Qualite´!,” he insisted. “Pas quantite´!” (quality, not quantity!)
Hubby got up. Nowness moved on and we left the little square with the magical organ grinder and the three old souls chatting passionately still.
I talk a lot about ‘Nowness’ in our group sessions particularly when we look at ways to manage our time, reduce the pressures and just improve the quality of our day to day lives. I had a group recently, where a young mum said to me how challenging it was to bring up a young family, and keep the house spotless and tidy. Toys, clutter demands from her little ones and wanting everything done to perfection meant that they sometimes seemed to be a nuisance. Constant questions and demands to look at what they’d drawn or made became irritating interruptions to her routine. For this mum, ‘nowness’ would give her permission to consciously choose to stop and relocate her focus.
The following week I was taking an evening session at Cafe Retreat in Shrewsbury and on a side table they were selling thought provoking gifts. It’s strange how our mind works, isn’t it? I was drawn to a little wooden hanging ornament with the smiling face of a child and the inscription read “Messy House Happy Kids Happy Family !” My client’s words had made more of an impression on me than perhaps I had appreciated. I bought it and wrapped it lovingly with a little note and posted it to her the next day. Strangely enough I came across a beautiful poem ‘Slow Dance,’ shortly afterwards by the child psychologist and writer David Weatherford. You can read it here: http://www.davidlweatherford.com/slowdance.html
His essence and intention resonate powerfully with me in my teaching. I hope with you also. Thank you David.
So, I promised to tell you how you could achieve a state of ‘nowness’ consciously:
- The first step is to ask yourself “Is this situation sufficiently important to warrant 100% of my undivided attention?”
- Work out you want to achieve from the ‘nowness’. What will this enhanced focus give you? E.g. a better relationship with your client perhaps or a better result from a negotiation.
- Do one thing only! Pay attention to the current moment; your focus needs to be in the now.
- Learn to consciously filter out distractions – noises, emails, mobiles, your twitter feed, concerns about your next meeting etc.
- If you’re finding your surroundings challenging, help yourself and consider changing location to somewhere more conducive to your desired outcome.
- Just enjoy being for a change rather than doing!
I know by now, you’ll be imagining the ways that you too can use ‘nowness’. As you restart whatever it was you were doing before you opened my blog, just remember, we’ve all been given this gift, it’s just that we don’t all choose to unwrap it.
For more information about the programmes I deliver, please visit my bespoke programmes page.
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