Christine Comaford – author, entrepreneur, coach, and ex-Buddhist monk – has a unique pedigree and an equally unique perspective on leadership. In this excerpt from her Social Capitalist Live Interview, she shares her thoughts on the roles that focus and presence, key Buddhist principles, play.
“Focus and presence to me are the foundation of leadership. When you choose to be exactly here, exactly now, there’s a couple of things that happen.
First of all, people feel that you’re aware, they feel that you care. Let’s also think about social media and why it’s so popular. It fulfills this deep need in people to be seen. When you grew up, did you really feel seen and acknowledged as a kid? Probably not. In your daily life, do you feel like people are really deeply, profoundly connecting with you every moment? Probably not, right? The more input we have coming in, the more phones and email, texting and etc., the less present we are. Continue reading
Be here, now. – Ram Dass
The value of presence – “being here, now” – has come up in several recent Social Capitalist interviews. Christine Comaford talked about its importance to leadership, calling it the quality that gives Bill Clinton his charismatic juju. Jonathan Fields talked about the importance of mindfullness meditation to creativity.
This morning, I’ve got a new spin on it, thanks to a conversation I had at Lucinda Duncalfe‘s Grubwithus dinner last night. Presence is incredibly important to the entrepreneur’s ability to generate ideas. (So perhaps this is really another take on Jonathan Fields’.) Entrepreneurs need to be present in the moment so that we’re sufficiently sensitive to life’s minor PITAs to recognize them, pause, and think about solving them.
James Altucher, yet another Social Capitalist guest, recommends “building your idea muscle” by writing down 10 or 20 fresh ideas every morning. But my new friend Ramya from the dinner had a different approach. She talked about paying attention so that every time you experienced a problem or an inconvenience, you flipped a switch to think, “Wait, is there a way to solve this?” In other words, cultivating a constant habit of identifying problems and brianstorming solutions – and “carrying a notebook everywhere.” It’s not unlike the myGreenlight mindset of constantly looking for opportunities to be generous to people – being here, now, so you’re truly listening and responding authentically – which brings us right back to Comaford and Bill Clinton. And actually, entrepreneurship itself is a form of win-win generosity and mutual self-interest.
Ramya’s thought brought me back around to presence – paying attention, exploring sensation, experience, and the tug of an inchoate idea, rather than wandering around in future-goggles thinking about what’s two weeks out.
If you’d like to get the transcripts or recordings for the Social Capitalist sessions I mentioned, here are the links: