Every year I lead Outward Bound wilderness expeditions for military veterans. It’s always an honor to serve veterans in this way, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to do so.
Last summer, on the second day of a sea kayak expedition, in North Carolina Outer Banks, about sunrise, I stuck my head out of my tent and observed a wild mare grazing in the sand dune less than thirty feet away. Unaware or uncaring of my presence, she carried out her morning routine with grace and splendor. It was one of those miracle moments in my life that are unrepeatable, and I recognize that the minutes I spent finding my camera and snapping the picture sacrificed the time I could have spent just being present and experiencing her magnificence.
The event prompted me to reflect upon Storm Jameson’s words:
“I believe that only one person in a thousand knows the trick to really living in the present. Most of us spend 59 minutes an hour living in the past, with regret for lost joys, or shame for things badly done (both utterly useless and weakening)–or in the future, which we either long for or dread. Yet the past is gone beyond prayer, and every minute you spend in the vain effort to anticipate the future is a moment lost. There is only one world, the world pressing against you at this minute. There is only one minute in which you are alive, this minute–here and now. The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle. Which is exactly what it is–a miracle and unrepeatable.”
As leaders we should reflect upon and learn a bit from Jameson. During the hundreds or thousands of daily interactions we have with our teammates (colleagues, friends, family) how much time do we spend rummaging through baggage from the past or creating expectations of the future? Perhaps we could accept and celebrate each minute with our teammates “…as an unrepeatable miracle. Which is exactly what it is—a miracle and unrepeatable.”
There is no higher purpose in a leader’s day than connecting with a teammate. When a teammate engages with us let’s put our electronic gadgets away and make eye contact. Let’s get on their level and listen intently to understand the messenger behind the message.
Let’s be present with our teammates.