Setting the Distractions On Airplane Mode

Jan 25, 2022

Being present is as hard as necessary these days. With distraction sources multiplying by the minute, from social media platforms to cool gadgets, all of them craving and demanding our attention, being in the moment had become a luxury rarity.  

Today's episode is about one of the most valuable assets we can offer to our team members, colleagues, and family: presence. We go through the benefits of being present when offering feedback, one-on-one interactions at home or at the office, or even when we are working by ourselves on a project. We also talk about the best way to deal with noticing we failed at being present, the healthy habit of establishing clear boundaries and expectations with ourselves, and more.

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • About how hard it is to stay present nowadays (0:58)
  • Why being hard on ourselves when we fail to be present is not the best idea (3:18)
  • How I struggled with being present, and what was the price I was paying for it (6:14)
  • How being present can help us solve and even prevent problems from happening (9:54)
  • Being present is also a perfect way of setting the right example (14:11)


Let's Connect!


Clint Hoopes: Welcome back to the show today. If this is your first time joining us, welcome, glad to have you here. Today, we are going to be talking about being present – being present right where you are. There's a quote by a man by the name of Jim Elliot, Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there.” Wherever you are, be all there. In a world of cell phones, headphones, technology, all of these different things that are honestly just taking our mental energy away from us and focusing us to 100 different places at any given moment, it's tough to say that we're ever all there, no matter where we're at. Often, we'll be sitting around a table – and this isn't abnormal in these days – and have everyone at the table looking at their phones; physically there, but mentally, somewhere else. I believe most of us are guilty of this at any given day. It's really easy to get caught in that trap. It almost feels weird these days if everybody else is on their phone, you're sitting there, and you try not to use your phone. I've tried to do this quite often, I'm like, “I’m not taking my phone out no matter if everybody else is. I'm gonna leave my phone in my pocket.” Especially, if I'm at a business meeting. So, maybe someplace where you're there to, whether it’d be networking, or make connections with people, or just friends getting together; I try hard to leave my phone in, and it is hard to leave your phone in your pocket, especially when everyone else has their phones out. Probably doing something important, looking at something for work, responding to a critical email, or something that's taking their attention. But they're definitely not all there wherever their body is, physically. 

I knew that I was going to talk about this topic today. I knew that I was going to talk about being present. And being present at work or at home, whatever it is, I wanted to talk about this today. And oddly enough, this morning, I was sitting there with my wife and we were talking, and we were going through a few different things. And it's funny, we were even talking about a few topics similar to this, about being a better dad, working through some of these things. Those were some of the topics that we were talking about. And I was looking at my phone, trying to show my wife something, and one of my children came by and wanted to see what I was looking at my phone and I showed him for a second and just more or less brushed him off, to be honest with you. And didn't even fully realize that he just wanted to know what we were looking at, wanted to know what we were doing, what we were talking about. And I brushed him off without even realizing. And he started to walk away and I saw him and I'm like, “Ah, what did I do?” And I started getting down on myself, I'm like, “Oh my gosh, what am I doing? I'm sitting here talking about this, trying to get better, and here I am messing up right now.” And my wife said, “Don't you dare do that.” And it caught me back, the way she said, “Don't you dare do that. You have come so far over the years in being present with the family.” This is something I've worked on for a long time trying to be better about being present. So, she said, “Don't be so hard on yourself. Just move forward.” And I so appreciated her saying that. Because it is so easy – as a father, specifically – to realize where you're failing and get down on yourself to the point that it does no one any good. What's the best thing I can do? The best thing I can do is recognize that there's room for me to do better and then do that. 

What is it going to do for me just to sulk about where I failed again? Think about all the places, how much better I'm doing now than I used to do. None of us. We're not gonna be the perfect parents. I think about myself and I have to tell myself, “Look, you will never be the perfect father.” But guess what? That's okay. And you're in the same boat. If you're a father, you will never be the perfect father. But guess what? Your kids, they don't need perfect; they need you. And they need you to be present with them as often as possible. So, what does that mean? Well, means something different for everybody, every one of us is at a different part of life. And what that means to be present as often as possible? Once again, different for each one of us at different stages of life. I know that over the years, I've had to learn that. I’ve had to learn that in the past, I would spend so much time mentally at work and physically at work, and I couldn't disconnect it. I finally got to the point where I learned to disconnect that so much more where I could be present at home, and then also be present at work when I'm at work. Just like Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there.” If you’re at work, be all there – be the best, make it happen. At home, when you're there, be all there with your children. 

I have different friends and family that have done different things, trying to get better at being all there and all present when they're home, and not letting the phones and technology distract them. And it's funny because some of the best things we need to do. When we talk about employees about setting clear expectations. That's how we get the best results, clear expectations. Guess what? Doing the same thing with ourselves, setting our priorities straight, succeeding at that is all about setting clear expectations with ourselves, then holding ourselves to it. And then setting expectations with those that communicate with us to know “Hey, when I get home, that's an emergency. Yeah, I'll take care of it. You can count on me.” As a business owner, as a leader, times like that happen. You have to take care of business, and your family understands, they'll understand. But what happens when that's every moment of every day when you get home from work. I've been there, I know I've been there, where I didn't set very clear boundaries at work and everything was a top priority, everything was urgent. And so I wasn't able to be present with my family in the past – I'd be there physically, but mentally, I would still be at work, because I had set the expectation that anytime, no matter what, I'll respond, I'll make it happen – until I realized that there was a better way. I could still have an incredible performance at work, maybe even better performance at work by setting the clear expectations and boundaries of my time, and when I was going to be all in and all their work, and when I was going to be all in and all there at home. 

It's amazing how a subtle shift like that really began to change things at my house years ago, and also at work, and the level of performance I was able to attain. And I was able to be a much better leader in both places, at home and at work. And so, just like at home, where I said, “We're never gonna be the perfect father,” that our kids don't need perfect, they just need us, and they need us all. It’s the same work. Our employees, they don't need us to be perfect, they don't expect us to be perfect. Even though it seems that way, it seems like they expect that out of us, but all they want is our ability to see them as a person and to be there – all there – when we're speaking with them, when they're helping us see what's important to them in their job, in their role, when we're supposed to be focusing on that individual – be there with that individual. 

We talk about one-on-one meetings. I love one-on-one meetings and one-on-one interactions. A one-on-one meeting each week with your key employees, not even solve problems, it can prevent so many problems. And if you're not doing them yet, starting them can help solve some of those problems, and eliminate them before they even come to pass. But something that I found myself doing years ago in my one-on-one meetings, I tried to be ultra-efficient. They'd be talking and I'd have my computer up in front of me. And maybe I was starting by taking notes, like, “Oh, yeah, I'm taking notes.” I’m telling them, “Don't worry about me, I got my laptop open ‘cause I'm taking notes on our meeting.” But they could tell that I would be distracted by something else I'm doing: a spreadsheet, an email that pops up, whatever it might be. They know, they can tell, you can tell. So, of course, they can tell, we work with smart people. And so they know that you're not all there, they know that you're not focused 100% on them, especially when you respond. And you respond, and you think that you're giving them your best you but you're not. And so I challenge you to be all there. Whether you're talking about at home, you're talking at work – be all there. 

This is why I created my one-on-one transformation guide. I'm gonna put the link in the show notes again here today. If you haven't downloaded that yet, it will go through and help you understand some of the places where you might be missing the boat on your one-on-one meetings with your employees. And one of the places you might be missing the boat is this very point today: Are you there in front of them? Because when you're there in front of them, mentally, you can better celebrate with them, better set clear expectations, and better help them know that you actually care about them as a person. They can see it, they can feel it, they'll know it. And when they know that, they're a lot more forgiving of your imperfections. Because we all have them, we all have plenty of them, and we need all of the forgiveness we can get as well. When we see them as a person, they will in turn see us as a person; a person that cares, a leader who wants to lead, a leader who wants to help them reach the heights that they desire as well. And all of that can come by just being present wherever we're at, not being distracted. You can turn off your phone when you're in a meeting with someone like that. Fantastic. I tell you, setting some of those expectations with the people around you – if you're lucky enough to have a secretary or something, great, let them know, “Hey, I'm in a meeting. If somebody calls for me, no distractions.” Or if on your phone – people will learn to understand that you'll call them back quickly thereafter, or they'll learn, “Hey, he does his one-on-one meetings on Mondays, Tuesdays,” whatever the day is, and they'll know they can't reach you. And it'll be okay, it will all be okay. And you'll be much better off having your key people all in, just like you're all in and all there with them. And they'll begin to do the same thing with their people. They'll stop trying to act super busy by multitasking, and trying to do all these different things at once when they're speaking with someone. And their people, if they are a manager, if they have other people that they manage, then they, too, will be able to have that better success and better connection with their people. And if they're not, if you are working with people that are also interfacing with other employees, or maybe they're interfacing with your customer – they're going to do the same for them. Just like our children will mimic what we do as their parents or as adults, so too will the people we lead, which is why we're called the leaders; because people will follow our example, they'll follow our lead. So, set the example for them, be someone who is all there and present. Commit – commit to do your one-on-one meetings without distraction; commit to having your computer closed, if it's appropriate, your phone off in some of those interactions, and see how it changes your relationship with those employees. I promise you it will, at home. Work on giving that one-on-one time to your family. When you're home, be home. When you're speaking with one of your children, be all in. Are you going to fail sometimes? You better believe you're going to fail sometimes at work and at home, you're going to miss it. And that's okay, as long as we're a little better today than we were yesterday. That's the goal behind it – be a little bit better today than we were yesterday. And before we know it, we will have gone a long, long way toward becoming the person – the father, the leader – that we want so badly to be. You got this. Until next week.