I was panicked – it was my first ‘gig’?with the much more polished and experienced consultants I had just started working with.? Gord and Steve had established a consulting partnership earlier that year, and they offered me a chance to work with them.? I left the security of my permanent Human Resource role in a large multi-national organization to work in this start-up consulting firm.? Gord and Steve could not promise me anything – none of us knew what the future would hold in terms of quantity of work.? I wasn’t afraid.? I knew I could live on what I had saved for at least a year.? So, I jumped right in and threw caution to the wind.
Until that moment.?? Standing in front of those people who were paying us very good money to deliver a team building workshop.? I, unlike Gord and Steve, had always been an over-preparer.? Gord and Steve preferred to ‘wing it’.? So, there I stood, along side them, watching the room fill and I suddenly started to freeze.? My mind raced with ‘what ifs’ and ‘oh no’s’.
Steve and I had a chance to speak to each other just before we started our session that morning.? I shared my angst at not knowing how the day was going to flow.? I shared my feelings and apprehension with Steve.? He listened quietly, as was his style, and then said to me ‘Deri, just be okay with whatever happens.’? Now, I have to admit, at first I wanted to scream.? ‘Just be okay???’? ‘Just be okay if we BOMB??’? ‘Have you lost your mind?’
Then, we started.? I heard Steve’s voice in my mind as the morning progressed.? I decided to ‘just be’ in the moment.? I decided to trust myself and to trust our collective experience in providing a great day for our participants.? And, I think at the end of the day, we did just that.
Steve gave me a great gift that day.? One that I have shared with many other people over my years of working?as a speaker and trainer.? Just be.? And notice.
Focusing all of your attention on another time and place. ? This day will never happen again.? Enjoy it.? Cherish your time.? It?s often hard to tell the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.? Someday you may discover that the small things were really the big things.? So learn to appreciate what you have before time forces you appreciate what you once had.?
I instantly saw the connection to Steve’s wisdom of ‘just be’.?? I now apply that wisdom to all parts of my life.? When my daughter brings home a pile of friends after school – who intend to stay for dinner – when I have prepared enough dinner just for our family of four; when I visit my mother who has dementia and she is struggling to say something to me and cannot find the words; when I am in a workshop and noticing that the group is having a tough time with the material or with the question before them…in those moments, I remind myself to ‘just be’, to just cherish the day and be open to what happens.? I can honestly say that – more often than not – I learn something new about myself or others that I would not otherwise have had the chance to learn had I been focused on what was irritating, what was imperfect, or what I wished ‘had been’ instead of what ‘was’.
A few years ago, Steve was diagnosed with cancer.? His wife set up a blog site in which we could all send our messages to Steve as he underwent experimental treatment in another country.? After awhile, the messages from his wife showed that Steve was not responding to the treatment.? We all knew what that meant.? At one point, Steve’s wife told us that our next message might be our last to Steve.? I wrote ‘Just Be.’? The last message on the blog was that Steve died staring into his wife’s beautiful warm eyes.? My guess is Steve was able to ‘be’ right there for that moment – and so was his wife.
Perhaps Steve was telling me to ‘lose my mind’ that day.? Maybe we can all benefits from getting out of our rational minds, filled with rules?and order … and just be present in the moment before us.
Whatever is going on in your life today, practice ‘just be’ and notice what you notice.? You might be surprised at the unexpected gifts that appear.?
?Deri Latimer, B Mgt, CSP, is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional. Deri combines a Business degree in Human Resources with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, agriculture, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri provides practical strategies for mental health ‘at work’; impacting individuals and organizations?to increase resilience to change, energize engagement with the organization, and propel meaningful performance results that last!??www.derilatimer.com