By Jennifer Olsen
A few weeks after the New Year, my family and I traveled to Southeast Asia. It was the first time I’ve traveled to Southeast Asia and the first time I’ve never cracked open my laptop during a vacation. Resisting the temptation each time workaholism threatened to strike helped clear my mind to think about Resourceful HR and our business with a more presence-based lens.
Be present where you are, not just where you want to be.
My time away helped me realize how important it is that we not just focus on where we’re headed, that we’re not only thinking about “where we want to be five years from now.” It’s just as important, if not more important, to consider the specifics of the present moment, to see things as they are now. As leaders, it can be tempting to fixate about our vision and what we want to become and underappreciate and lose some sight of where we are now.
Thinking about the artisans who created Angkor Wat in Cambodia, a place I had the pleasure of visiting during my travels, they certainly had a vision. But if they had only focused on the final goal, there’s no way they could have managed to get the millions of 1.5-ton stones that make up the ancient temple where they needed to be. Similarly, as leaders if we only focus on where we want to be five years from now, it’s easy to lose sight of the solid details—the budget, workforce, product, services— that will get us there. It’s not an either-or situation, it’s a balance.
A balanced appreciation for the present and the future allow you to adapt.
Admittedly, it can be scary to shift our vision from future-focused to present-focused, and vice versa. For some it may be easier to look into the future and ignore the present. For others, there may be a sense of comfort in the day-to-day details.
I’m taking what I learned during my travels and using it as a reminder to approach each day by looking at the details and understanding how they intersect with the future vision I have in mind. And, most importantly, if I find that we’re about to get hit by a 1.5-ton sandstone brick, I can use that awareness to flex and adapt to find a new—and possibly better—approach.