The Power of Being Present: Lessons from a Mentor
The world is fast-paced, and we are all trying to keep up. Human beings operate on roughly 97% habit, which is largely our subconscious moving us throughout the day. Have you ever gotten into your vehicle and not remember how you got to your destination? If we do not emphasize the importance of “being present” or “being in the moment,” we could be missing out on important things happening around us. It is a critical habit to begin with as leaders, especially when it comes to inclusion and empowering others.
As an introvert and only child, making others smile or feel a sense of warmth was important to me. I spent most of my time drawing and reading with painting later becoming an outlet that led me to studying Art and Philosophy for almost a decade. This creative outlet gave me a space to practice being present since art can’t be created with a distracted, busy mind.
A couple years ago, I went through some extremely difficult life moments. That led me to taking a leap of faith and enrolling in a Master of Business Leadership (MBL) course on “Emotional Intelligence and Servant Leadership”. It was a five-month rigorous program where I learned something invaluable...
We are habit-driven human beings.
This MBL Program gave me the tools and resources to become more present, accelerate my authenticity and lower my walls. I learned to better communicate with honesty and compassion, as well as learned to minimize being affected by negative emotions.
About a year ago, I was invited by Elena Rececconi, human resources generalist, to participate in the Jabil Switzerland Mentoring Program. I happily accepted and was thrilled to be of service. I was perfectly paired with my first mentee, Silvia Martin, Jabil Mezzovico manufacturing manager. My approach to mentoring incorporated the fundamental habits and tools at the foundation with the 24+ sessions being driven by Silvia’s bi-weekly journal of “being present.”
Even though Silvia and I are wired differently, our mentor-mentee experience was a success due to our equal commitment and alignment on expectations. Yet, it was mainly Silvia’s perpetual motivation to put forth the emotional labor required to truly create change that made this a success. Being a leader can be overwhelming, intimidating, and stressful at times. However, there is a way to get through the challenges of leading a team, or an entire site’s operations like Silvia was facing, as a new leader.
First, we must be present; second, we must want change. For me, it’s all about the honest work in confronting and writing what challenge was faced, how you felt about it and if it was a moment of “earning or burning trust” with others. This is an exercise that challenges both the emotional and intellectual sides of the brain. It was amazing to watch the power of this exercise impact Silvia, her approach to managing operations and leading her teams.
Very quickly, Silvia successfully turned negative stress into positive stress by reflecting and refraining. Just six months into our work there was a moment that I will never forget when Silvia came to me and asked me how far she could go.
“What was the limit?” she asked.
By that point, Silvia thoughtfully tackled tough workplace scenarios and developed genuine trust while her team successfully achieved their goals. When we consciously commit to our decisions, we remove ourselves from the negative emotions and can achieve significantly more. Silvia’s ability to “be present” is now what drives her actions, which have led to her impressive results in just one year I’ve known her. This enriching experience has motivated me to continue to be of service to others even if to change just one person’s life.