TOO OFTEN we are busy looking for the next thing. The problem is our experiences tend to be shallow. We miss out on the richness of being in the moment. To counteract this, we try to find balance. But balance doesn’t create greatness.
The solution is not balance, says sports executive Scott O’Neil in Be Where Your Feet Are. The answer is to make “the most of each moment and ridding ourselves of the toxic habit of constantly looking forward to the next thing.” Finding balance is “like aspiring to be in the middle.” On the other hand, “being present, focused, committed, and hardworking at home and at work is the path to finding success and fulfillment.”
To that end, O’Neil offers, through the use of stories both personal and from scores of others, seven principles to keep you present, grounded and thriving. The stories and the grounding principle he draws from them really make each of these seven principles come to life. I offer one of the insights from each.
#1 Be Where Your Feet Are
With so many distractions, it is harder today than ever to be where your feet are. It has also never been more important.
I don’t believe the good life is about finding balance between work and home. It’s about living the moments we have where and when we have them.
To be more present, O’Neil offers a four-part process:
- Find Perspective “Perspective is the foundation on which we build a life where we can be where our feet are.”
- Seek Authentic Feedback “How you live is truly a choice. What you’re going to do and who you are going to do it with, those are choices only you can make.”
- Cultivate Reflective Strength “Our ability to have more meaning is right here in front of us, but so are the distractions, and too often the distractions rule the day.”
- Live Your Leadership Constitution “Committing in writing to life and a way of living matters. Whether we have family rules or values, whether we have a morning mantra or a Leadership Constitution, we need guideposts in our lives. We need reinforcement in terms of what we stand for, what matters, and what we prioritize, and through those things we can be where our feet are when it counts.”
#2 Change The Race
In those times when we feel stuck, unable to get out of the funk we are in, we need to change the race:
- Recognize That You Have a Choice to Change Your Situation
- Run Toward the Storm Instead of Away from It “I’ve already spent too much time in the gray. I choose to throw all of my emotion and soul into everything I do because it should all matter. It should matter because the alternative is that you have no life or hope or joy or future.”
- Find Your Center with The Help of People You Care About and Who Care About You
The most critical things to keep in mind include knowing when you need to change the race you are running and not shutting down—remember that isolation is your kryptonite when things are going badly. Engage people in your life and do not let ego or pride get it the way of good decision-making or getting help.
#3 WMI – What’s Most Important
The world is filled with universe moments, which is when things happen for a reason and people, places, and events seemingly drop into your life with purpose.
Today the world moves faster and there seems to be more chaos than calm, it’s likely worth exploring your own centering force—whether that’s faith, church, prayer, meditation, running, yoga, or anything else that helps enhance your level of peace, increase your level of calm and provide a more centered life.
#4 Fail Forward
Failure is a better teacher than success. Failure is a more effective teacher than success. It’s rarely enjoyable, but it is critically important to be a student of life.
Stop competing, stop pressing so hard, and start opening yourself up to people and learning. Stop trying to prove what you know and begin to express that you’re intellectually curious. Be interested versus interesting.
#5 Be The Purple Water Buffalo
Be an extraordinary teammate. Hold the team above self.
The purple water buffalo attitude can also be summarized in this expression: if there is a piece of paper on the ground, bend over and pick it up.
We have to solve problems when we see them. Don’t wait. If something goes south, fix it. Now.
#6 Assume Positive Intent
What if you assumed positive intent from those with whom you connect, no matter how many alternative and less generous assumptions were possible?
Why? Because we often have preconceived notions about what other people are thinking and what their intentions are, and typically these preconceived notions are negative. More importantly, they are at best clouded and at worst wrong, and they always impact your ability to be effective.
#7 Trust The Process
In a world dominated by instant gratification and obsessed by the spotlight of now, Trust the Process is the commitment that you will keep the long-term view at the forefront of your planning and decision-making. Trust the Process is about understanding the mistakes and taking the time to revisit what went wrong and why, and then leverage that information to get smarter and make better decisions in the future.