Being in the Moment by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Being in the Moment

Being in the moment is a mode where instead of reacting to events and people, we choose how we direct our attention and awareness of them, and respond. This saves time and energy and brings other business benefits.

Getting out of your head

Who has not been caught up by having their buttons pushed and reacting immediately, usually with less than an optimal outcome?  Yes, they would prefer to be more responsive and creative. But reacting is a cycle. You might wonder why you so easily veer into feeling worked up, agitated, and stressed knowing that you would rather feel calm and centered, and focus on constructive action.

 What is “being in the moment” like?mindfulness

Being in the moment is the mode where action can flourish and stress is absent. Creative responses are more likely when we’re in the moment. Authenticity and thinking on one’s feet also come easily from this mode. When we are in the moment we are very powerful because we respond instead of react to challenging situations and people.

 Two Core Skills

Being in the moment is comprised of two overarching skills. The first is awareness, and the second is attention. We are well aware of what is going on around us, but are hardly ever aware of how we process what is going on. A reactive cycle takes us out of the moment, so we’re less effective. Awareness of how we process what is going on is important for leaders and organizations because it saves time and energy.


New, better responses to work, leadership and life arise naturally when we are first aware of what goes on ‘upstairs’. Our ‘doing’ follows our state of being. Once a leader keys in on this awareness, s/he has a powerful mode to use. They reclaim their attention and can now direct it in purely constructive and creative ways. Awareness is a first step because we can control only those things that we are aware of.


Once this awareness is generated, the leader notices that much time and energy is spent reacting to people and situations. A reaction is a conditioned way of processing the world. It is automatic and uncontrolled. When we say ‘he/she really pushed my buttons’ we are describing a reaction. Someone or something happened and we are now thinking in a way that is both uncontrolled and likely to lead to further agitation and stress.

 No Time to Think

Some reactions, like the ones that get us out of harm’s way, are necessary to our survival. You saw a bus careening down the road and you leapt out of the way. Your mind reacted and you did not have time to become agitated or stressed about the bus careening down the road. You did not have time to think, “Oh, this is rather negative.” Or “Why does this always happen to me?” Your focus was simply on action.

Being in this Moment

You were naturally in the moment. The external event was processed quickly enough that you created no blocks to action. Blocks to action happen when we process an external situation or person in a way that causes an internal problem for us. We know when we are turning an event or person into a problem when we take on stress, anger, anxiety or a host of other negative states. For the practical purposes of learning how to be in the moment, we will just call these undesirable states. This is the true problem, as negative reactions waste time and energy.

 Conserve Time and Energy

Unlike the split-second jump out of the way of a bus, there seems to be all sorts of time and energy available in our workdays to create negative reactions. These block action as well as creative responses. They hinder relationships, and slowly turn promising people into puddles of anxiety.

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