The ability to stay in touch with our friends is constantly at our fingertips; however, staying connected to those same friends while sitting right across the table from them can actually be very difficult. The temptation to be on our phones is higher now than it has ever been with all the social media outlets and breaking news sources. We live and work in a generation of having access to answers immediately and the concept of patience and staying present in the moment is very difficult.
Patience is one of the key elements to being a leadership consultant; however, having a job that works directly with collegians means that their primary method of contact is through texting. Which means they are expecting answers the second their phone indicates the message was delivered. They will text you on their way to their 8 a.m. lab or after 10 p.m. when they are just beginning their homework, which implies that you need to be accessible at any hour of the day. I have a phone for my personal life and a work phone, both of which need to be checked regularly. While recognizing the importance of remaining reachable, it is imperative to find the balance of being and staying present with those in front of you.
Being a part of a high-achieving leadership consultant team can create feelings of needing to be perfect all of the time. But day after day, I am learning that the women that I work with would rather me be present over perfect. So what I have been focusing on first are the women who are directly in front of me, instead of thinking about my long to-do list or my never-ending emails that are blowing up my phone.
Throughout my first few weeks of being a consultant, there were two helpful tactics I learned for finding the balance of staying present over being perfect:
- The art of the phone stack
- This concept is very self-explanatory. Whenever you are in a group, simply have everyone place their phones upside down in the center of the table. That way people are not tempted to check their phone when it lights up from a notification. All in all, this creates a sense of respect for others’ and their time.
- Limiting social media checks to a 30-minute block at the end of the day
- The idea behind this is that you will begin to realize how many times you pull out your phone throughout the day to see what is going on in the social media realm. When we check our phones at every awkward pause in conversation, we begin to lose precious moments of building relationships. It’s also very unprofessional to be caught scrolling through your Instagram feed when with those whom you are working with.
Let’s be a part of the change in the social media addiction by taking the first step in deepening our relationships with others. Stay present, it is way more fun than being perfect.