Three Steps To Chill Out and Be Present

There are so many things we have to… and need to do… and want to do… that it is easy to jam pack our to-do list, our schedule and our life with busy-work. BUT it is necessary to do so? You may be saying “Yes, of course it is. How else am I going to get things done?” Well, that depends on what you have to get done.

If you are a do-er and an action-taker-and dare I say ‘perfectionist’-it is very easy to get caught up in the doing of it all. But where does living your life like you want it fit in? It really doesn’t because you are so busy being in the future about what you have to get done and feel you should be doing that you forget to live in the here and now.

My dad had a saying, well he actually had two that are relevant to share with you: “One day at a time” and “One thing at a time“. He was good at saying “I’ll be with you in a moment, right now I’m finishing this.” Meanwhile my mother and I are racing around doing (and not finishing) ten things to his finished one. I know for sure, by my own experience and those of my friends and clients, that when your attention is not in one place, neither are you. You simply cannot give whatever you are doing justice if you are not fully present.

Have you ever spilled a beverage, dropped something, banged into the corner of your desk, or stubbed your toe while you were trying to do something else? That’s being in the future (or the past). And oh yes, the spilled beverage on your carpet, the shattered screen on your dropped smart phone or the stubbed toe absolutely brings you into the present in a very fast way! It’s a rude reminder that you need to slow down, take a breath and maybe take a break.

I had a client who woke up one morning, got out her cereal bowl and her juice glass, and before she realized what she was doing the bowl was full of cider. She was upset and beating herself up over this. It actually threw off her entire day and when I asked her what was going on the moment before she poured the cider, she said she was thinking about her day and all that she had to do and what she wasn’t going to finish. And so there you have it: when we are not present, we can’t fully be mindful of what we are doing.

Would you like to experience fewer mishaps and mistakes throughout your day? Do you want to accomplish things and have them done right the first time? Be with yourself and not 10 steps ahead.

Here are three quick and easy ways for you to check in with how you feel and be more mindful and present in the moment:

  • Take a breath. Do you feel frazzled? Simply stop moving. Sit or stand still and breathe in to the count of 5 (slowly), then hold for a count of 2 and let your breath out for a count of 5, pausing for another count of 2. Try it right now – don’t you feel better?
  • Look around you. Are you jumpy and anxious? Look at where you are and what’s near you. Name what comes into your vision and give it a moment’s thought. The dog, “Oh, he’s actually snoring in his sleep”; the knickknack you picked up on vacation and what a fun time you had; the clouds in the sky and the shape they appear to you. Small distractions will settle your thoughts.
  • Change your view. Do you need to get out of your office? Do you need to go outside? Sometimes stopping what you are doing and taking a break is essential to help you be more mindful. Whatever it is, do it. Just five minutes can do wonders for your focus.

Follow the above tips and you’ll be mindful and in the present moment in no time (without stubbing your toe). You’ll be happier, more productive and relaxed too

Do You Have What It Takes To Exercise This Quality of Leadership In These Present Demanding Times!

It is not a difficult lesson but it is vitally important as we exercise leadership no matter in what area of life we are leading.

We have to understand the difference between trust and belief. Leaders have to understand principles and situations which bother some but which leaders have to be able to overcome.

Is this not when trust and security and assurance and all these heavy and crucial words need to be part of our training.

Trust is so necessary in as much as you place your life and your hands and your faith, in Jesus Christ.

Belief flows in action when our trust is real and deep and placed in Jesus Christ.. To be secure in such a way as we are able to lead effectively we have to learn how to trust and believe.

Very few leaders in these days take time to consider how Almighty God would wish them to lead.

This is where real prayer can play such a vital role in the life of the leader.

There are times when it is difficult to believe and we have to trust in God. What are we to do as leaders when it is challengingly difficult?

I have to trust God, and it is as we trust God that we become assured and secure as we lead and give that example which people expect us to give.

Trust Him. Learn how to trust Him, when things are quiet, in minor areas to begin with.

Much of this is flowing from my recent time studying Psalm 125. Do take time and make time to read it.

The first songs in these Psalms of Ascent were centred on pilgrim’s journeys, but now Psalm 125 speaks of God’s surrounding protection around His people.

Leaders need to be surrounded and protected and to be so spiritually is invaluable.

Jerusalem was and is well protected geographically speaking, but at that time of the Psalmist, Zion represented the God surrounding His people.

It is good to have around you a solid impregnable wall.

The wall Jesus Christ had around Him was the Will of the Father and that was a pretty grim wall as we consider and think of His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

What is our wall of protection? In Moses’ day it was walls of water piled up and Elisha’s wall was fiery chariots and horsemen of angelic origin, and Isaiah’s and Hezekiah’s was their resort to the Lord in prayer. They had spiritual insight.

Our wall of protection is Jesus Christ and The Word and Prayer, which is invisible to most people, and even to many in the visible church!

We can be confronted with challenges which we do not know we are going to handle them, and we came through them.

“Lord, I do not know what exactly You are doing, but I trust You.” Many have prayed that over the ages.

Many have had to speak these words in some form, and they have experienced God to be there, present and strong, and able to do whatever was needed.

God desires to give His people stability and security and rest, so that passive trust can flow into belief and action.

The world craves these blessings and seeks them in different ways, but never find them in a true or abiding form. There is a place where we may find all three.

Over these past weeks it has been an enriching experience to study these fifteen Psalms in that section called the Songs of ascent and this article flows from part of my researches in Psalm 125.

This level of assurance and security is pictured as Mount Zion, and as a city, and that city to which the pilgrims were ascending was Jerusalem.

Of course, now, today, God dwells by His Holy Spirit, in the lives of those who truly believe in Jesus Christ. That has to be the priority.

Our sins are washed away in the blood Jesus Christ shed on Calvary’s Cross. Our sin is forgiven and then, and only then, can we experience God’s peace.

Flowing from our stability in Christ Jesus there comes a security and a rest.

And then, there come that very exciting day when you realise that you are no longer the flighty one you were, up one day and down the next, like a yo-yo, all over the place, on emotional highs and then sunk in the depths.

As you are trusting and as you continue to trust Him, you discover yourself becoming established in Christ.

Do we live now as people who truly belong to Zion? If this is a problem or a question or an issue for someone, then Psalm 125 is for you.

We have to be very careful in this whole area, that our confidence is not placed in self, and not in things, but in God.

The Holy Spirit has done a work within, and there is a solid faith and belief which was not there previously, when we might have been wondering, and even worrying because of the wondering.

Those in positions of leadership can benefit tremendously because this is God’s answer for the problems of the world and this is God’s method of transforming men and women into the type of people He would have us become!

Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children’s Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

Master The Uncertainty Of Presentations

Why try to fool ourselves? Presenting to a group is fraught with uncertainty. If you want to know exactly what will happen at every moment, you’d be better off hiding in the closet. Here’s the secret for feeling confident in every situation…

In spite of extreme risks and rampant uncertainty, giving presentations and speaking in public are a part of every professional’s life. Certainly as you progress in your career, you can expect to give more presentations. And each public speaking event is likely to present more challenges and more uncertainties than the last one.

What’s the best way to cope with the unknowns?

Hmmm… does pushing the variables under the rug work?

Nope.

Let’s see. How about sneaking out the side door and letting someone else deal with butterflies and nervous jitters?

Not if you want to rise to the top.

Face the facts. The best coping strategy is not ignorance. Or avoidance. Yet, many professionals use these strategies when it comes to presenting and speaking to groups.

There is an alternative.

Learn and use a systematic approach to build remarkable presentations. Follow a simple plan to produce exciting and engaging talks. The big mistake that many subject matter experts make is: heading into a presentation without a systematic process.

No wonder the alternatives of hiding or avoiding look so attractive.

Just about everything that works well in business is a system. You have a system for strategic planning, project management, and sales efforts. Why wouldn’t you have an equally thought through system for presenting?

The only reason that consistently pops up for NOT having a presentation system is: assigning ‘presentations’ into a category of ‘unimportant.’

If one believes that presenting is not a valuable use of time, then it would make sense to not have a system for doing it.

But that’s just foolish. One 5-minute presentation in front of the right people could do a whole lot more for your career than 5 years behind a desk. You could get a promotion, seal a deal, or get funding for your dream project. One presentation could unlock doors that would never be touched if you remain hidden deep in research.

Just last week I coached a woman who was struggling with this very issue. She had so many ideas for her 1-hour talk, that she could have easily written a 700-page book. Without a proven process, she spent hours dissecting ideas, jumping from one topic to the next.

In a short time together, we whittled down the massive volume to a few key concepts and a single theme. Instead of tearing her hair out, she was able to breathe a sigh of relief.

“This process was incredibly helpful! I never could have done it without you.”

Presenting in public can be scary and daunting. There are unknowns and risks. People may sit in stony silence. Participants may ask uncomfortable questions. Problems may emerge that you aren’t sure how to answer.

But with a solid system to plan your story, share your ideas, and guide interaction…you will feel ready to take on the unknown. Interested in building your confidence and growing your presentation skills?