Why Behave Like There’s All The Time in the World, Even When There’s Not

I’m not a cat person, but our new kitten won me over completely. When she was little, I spent a lot of time playing and holding her, and as a result (if anything is logical with cats) she is particularly affectionate.

However, being a cat, the interactions are still on her own terms.

It’s uncanny that every time she wants to interact is inevitably when I’m trying to get something done or get ready to leave the house. Usually though, I sigh, pick her up and breathe into the purring soft sensation.

For that moment, I commit to give her all my attention. 

Have you noticed what it’s like when someone gives you their undivided attention? 

In conversation, they look you in the eye and speak to you directly and fully. You know this person may have a million things to do but right now, you are their focus.

Contrast that with the feeling when someone is in a rush and barely present in the conversation. Their eyes, body, hands and clearly mind are already onto the next thing, if they haven’t already started it while still talking.

Of course I’m going to say that as leaders, we should cultivate the first way and practice abundance in our interactions. And maybe you’re thinking, there isn’t enough time. There aren’t enough resources. If I stopped to pet every cat or to smell every flower…where would we be? 

To be sure, there are always constraints. But to be Zen about it, in any given moment there is nothing more that needs to be done than, in this case, to pay attention to the other person.  

And in my experience, leaders who are generous moment to moment with their time don’t waste time, they save it – by increasing connection and gaining clarity. 

Here are some other ways leaders can cultivate and demonstrate an abundance mindset:

  • Saying “yes” to reasonable requests.  The devil’s advocate we met before is exclaiming, “But if I said yes to everything my people ask for, it might be too much!” Be reasonable and say “no” when you need to. Even then, people can usually tell if you were potentially open to agreeing with them.
  • Staying open to possibilities, by asking the “what if” questions before getting to all the “but’s.” One of my clients likes the 6 Thinking Hats method, where one hat is for brainstorming and a different hat for identifying what won’t work, to encourage their team to be more generous and less constrained in creating options.  
  • Seeking “and” instead of “or” solutions. The fixed-pie scarcity mindset directs us to winners and losers, us and them.  If you assume there is enough – resources, recognition, – there is more likely to be a mutually beneficial path forward.

In the upcoming days, try paying attention to your interactions, and which ones feel open and generous. And notice the effect on the other person, and on yourself.   

Gotta go;  I’ve got a cat crawling onto my lap.

If these ideas encourage you to reflect on your own leadership style, coaching may be a good fit.  I’m the guide for leaders who want to become as confident in their leadership as they already are in their expertise.  Please reach out to chat and learn more!

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