Living in the Future
Who hasn’t put their head down, absorbed the pain or monotony of the present, and focused on getting to the weekend or to the end of the month? Whenever we sacrifice in the present moment to reach a milestone in the distance, we can be said to be living in the future. Highly productive leaders live much of their lives in the future. Success doesn’t happen without it.
Overlooking the discomfort in the work at hand and pushing through it to achieve an outcome in the distance is something everyone does. This mental time travel is essential for giving us a purpose and bringing meaning to our work.
Yet, the more we live in the future, the more likely it is to be disappointed when the future arrives. The end result after a slog through turbulent or tedious waters often feels anticlimactic. As we set our sights on the next prize, we wonder if it is really worth it. Living and working too much for the future can destroy happiness in the present.
The best-adjusted leaders know a secret. The importance of valuing the present while planning for the future requires we savor the moment. Leaders who anchor to the “now” and savor the everyday moments don’t forfeit the present for the future. Having both a treasured present and an eye toward a successful future allows for the highest motivation.
Savoring the daily tasks and activities means to make them fun, engaging, and full of learning. Maintaining a focus on the pleasant sensations and positive details of the day-to-day is what living mindfully is all about. When the tasks are too boring or wearisome to enjoy, then surrounding those activities with enjoyable moments becomes essential.
Those who exclusively tolerate a painful present for a greater achievement later do so at great peril. This is a recipe for burnout, sourness, and chronic fatigue. Smelling the roses all day long is how the best leaders create a bridge between the present and the future. Anything less is destructive to the spirit.
“Having both a treasured present and an eye toward a successful future ...” is a great example of what we call Double Win Leadership