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Being Present Is A Skill Every Entrepreneur Must Develop
In the early 1970s, about six months before I was to graduate from college, I was visiting a friend in Toronto and was introduced to someone that I just clicked with. This man was a creative director at Baker-Lovick, the second largest advertising agency in Canada at the time.
In conversation, he told me he could tell that I had a way with words and a good mind, and he wanted to find out if I had the makings of a copywriter. Would I be interested in giving it a shot? You bet!
Being present, then and now.
Working at Baker-Lovick represented three highly valuable years of my life, and I’ve always been grateful for being given the opportunity.
I quickly made two important observations while working at the agency: one, there was an expectation that I would continually come up with new ideas; and, two, adopting the agency’s productivity mindset and focus was essential to achieving this.
Addressing both required a strategic and disciplined focus on my daily work. It didn’t take long for me to realize that being present in the moment would stand me in good stead in this highly creative, fast-paced business. Working in this environment, in fact, provided a solid foundation and superb training for starting my own business, which I did after three life-changing years.
The last good idea.
At the agency, not only did I learn a lot about the advertising business itself, I understood that I was judged to be only as good as my last good idea. This was a huge insight.
It meant that what I did yesterday, no matter how brilliant, didn’t matter anymore. And I couldn’t even think about tomorrow because it was only what I created today that counted. If that doesn’t get you focused, I’d hazard a guess to say that nothing will!
In my world today as a coach to entrepreneurs, I still adhere to this same productivity focus on what needs to be done today, which always requires my ability to be present and putting all of my energy into the right things.
My working version of the productivity focus.
Based on my experience in advertising, plus 40 years of coaching entrepreneurs, I believe that entrepreneurial success demands the ability to adopt the productivity focus I first experienced at Baker-Lovick. It always calls upon the “being present” muscle I realized was a key part of the equation. Here’s what that looks like:
- Celebrate your win from yesterday at the end of the day, enjoy it, feel good about it, and then let go of it.
- Shoot for another win today, but never expect a repeat of yesterday’s success. Today’s challenges are new and sometimes even scary. Your goal is to focus on pulling off a new win or set of wins around today’s challenge.
- Forget about the unpredictability of tomorrow. When you get ahead of yourself, it leaves you too little energy for the present. Work on being present and engaged with just the activities you’ve committed to today.
Being present is a skill, and that means it can be strengthened.
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Build your ”present” muscle.
Being present is a skill, and that means it can be strengthened. All the productivity tools we use at Strategic Coach® are designed with this in mind. They help you to separate yourself completely from any concerns or negative emotions from the past, and from anxiety and worry about the future.
Instead, you’re able to start a new day fresh, and utilize just what’s available to you to create your win or wins for the day. This is a capability that very few people actually develop. But for those who do, your past will be filled with successful, winning days, and you can then certainly predict that your future days will follow suit.
About the Author
Dan Sullivan is the world’s foremost expert on entrepreneurship in action. He is the founder of The Strategic Coach Inc. and creator of The Strategic Coach® Program. Visionary, creative, wise, playful, and generous, he is a true champion of entrepreneurs worldwide.Follow on Twitter More Content by Dan Sullivan