What’s the one thing that is essential right now, in this moment?
You may not believe it, but if you stop and ask yourself that question, especially at a time when you feel stress, you can eliminate angst and tune in to “the now.” Done right, you’ll experience or achieve something that’s important to you, too.
I learned to ask this question after finishing Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism. When I discovered this book last year, I was so captivated I read the book cover to cover in less than a week (that’s fast for me!). Recently, I revisited the book to get a much needed refresher (aka kick in the butt)…
Here’s an example of how I apply his concept that may resonate with you:
I stop mid-task at work to pick up my kids from their after-school activity. It’s only 4:00 pm, and I know I have work I still want to get done today. Typically, I may stress about it until about 9:00pm when I can pick up where I left off. Being an entrepreneur is an essential part of my identity, and I enjoy my work. I feel the tug of wanting to finish what I started.
Guilt accompanies the stress because I am irritable with my kids. I am distracted, and my split attention helps no one. I feel helpless and unfulfilled as a parent and as a business-owner. I am helping with homework, preparing dinner, and providing a listening ear while also mulling over unfinished business.
I’ve practiced asking, “What’s essential right now?”
Guess what? These words center me immediately! Grounded and aware of where I am, I acknowledge the opportunity to excel at a role I value highly: involved and caring mom. I confess I am surprised at how fast I zero in on the moment with this one powerful question. I am present for my children—which is what I want—and let go of the non-essential-for-now work during that specific time.
I admit, it’s not magic. I have to repeat the question and recenter multiple times. Yet, as my mind strays, this grounding question brings me right back to the moment.
Maybe decades of yoga practice is paying off in more ways that I realize…