There I was, up on stage speaking. It was a large audience and they were right there in front of me, but I couldn’t have possibly been more separated from that audience. I realized that to them, I was checked out. Not on purpose, but I did it myself.
That’s when it hit me. It wasn’t about my words, the content, the technique or even the flash factor. I had to Connect! Connect To and Connect With. And to connect meant I had to be present. And to be present, I had to slow down and be relentless about being in the moment. When you are present it is impossible to self-check-out.
My approach began to flip with that realization.
To be present means to be in the moment, fully invested in that time and space; in our thinking, with our emotions and even how we project our physical being.
The stories from my experiences started to flow out. I learned how to go back in the moment of those experiences and bring them forward today to show others how they can slow down themselves and feel what it’s like to be present—emotionally—in their lives and jobs.
The notion of Must Be Present To Win came out of one of those stories and has now served as the seminal message to what I had wanted to get into words and share with others for so long.
My work with Paul, my leadership coach was transformational for me. It got me out of my world of data and facts and processes, so I could really embrace the need to Connect With and Connect To people on a deeper level—on an emotional level—to have the impact I want to have.
Not everybody will show emotional presence in the same way. But we must Connect With and Connect To people on an emotional level. You don’t need to be the dramatic, cheerleader-type leader running around giving everybody high-fives at work. But as leaders, we must find a way to connect at an emotional level.
Leadership is hard enough. It’s time we started to make it simple. Simply said, be present. Leaders Must Be Present to Win – Emotionally.