August 2010 – In previous newsletters we discussed the four inner blocks and considered harnessing stress, transformational change and self-mastery. This month we’ll examine the fine line between living in the moment (as opposed to living for the moment) and living for the future — specifically as it applies to guiding our legal careers.
Do you enjoy every day? Relish every moment? How do you balance that level of living in the moment with planning for your future and guiding your career?
There is a fine balance between focusing on the future and focusing on the present, in all areas of life, especially when driving our careers. How many colleagues do you know who just sort of drift in and through their careers? They may strive for one job, get it and then coast through. How many others do you know who are so driven they lose sight of their accomplishments? Their drive gets in the way of enjoying their successes.
We all know people whose thoughts and actions are concerned solely with their future goals. Their goal is, quite simply, to achieve the goal. These people are often successful. Their dogged determination assists them in achieving their goals. They do not allow themselves to be sidetracked from the goal. Their eyes are narrowly focused on the target — the goal.
In a simple, bland world where things either are or they are not, the future focus might well be the best approach one can adopt. For in such a world either the pre-defined goal is achieved or it is not achieved. Ours is not such a world, however. In our world, there is a myriad of possibilities and opportunities — not all of them recognizable the day we define our goals — any one of which might blindside us. To that end, a different approach is called for.
In the Moment Focus
Walking with blinders narrows our focus to a single point. Our lives are multi-dimensional; we are impacted and influenced by every encounter and experience. These encounters offer new opportunities which have the ability to improve the goal we’ve defined for ourselves or the path we’ve chosen to achieve the goal.
These opportunities can only be recognized and acted on when we live our lives in the moment. Being in the moment allows us to respond to the changed circumstances of our lives in a timely fashion, thereby modifying, improving and achieving our goals more readily.Living in the moment is not living for the moment. The latter is a purely hedonistic lifestyle which does not allow for achieving long term goals.
Living in the moment, on the other hand, strikes that perfect balance between future focus and for the moment focus.In his book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig, using as a paradigm mountain climbing, says it well:
“You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you’re no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an end but a unique event in itself … To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.”But, of course, without the top you can’t have any sides. It’s the top that defines the sides. So on we go … we have a long way … no hurry … just one step after the next …”
Both the future goal and the moment are necessary. Live in the moment as you are aware of your changing surroundings and are open to those changing influences. Balance the moment while keeping the future goal in mind. Doing so, we can adapt to the changes, modifying either our goals or the paths to achieving our goals. Ultimately, this leads us to achieving our successes more easily.
This Month’s Challenge
Remember this principle: There is a purpose to be gleaned from every life experience. And yes, often we can miss the signposts. We all have our moments of forgetting this principle. Mindfulness and awareness of the moment are the keys to utilizing those experiences to further our goals. This month, and thereafter, carefully consider your career goals and examine every new experience to determine how your goal is impacted by it. Tweak your goals with the knowledge you gain from each experience. In short, relish the moment even as you guide your career by planning and setting goals for the future.
Have a great month.
Consider the possibilities.
Adam J. Krim www.driveconsulting.net
P.S. Feel free to contact me and let me know how you’ve managed with the monthly challenges, or any other thoughts stemming from the ideas presented in these newsletters. Of course, all communications will be kept confidential.