The Big Difference Between Being Available & Being Present
I recently moved from the East Coast to the West Coast. Take the normal stressors and logistics of moving and add a major time zone switch. While building a bi-coastal company, I wanted to stay up to speed with my East Coast clients, so I attempted to work East Coast hours on the West Coast. I gave up my early morning routine so I could wake up and jump into the flow of the East Coast already hard at work. I am more of a work-until-midnight person than a morning person, so it didn't take me long to feel completely out of alignment.
My body and my inner voice were telling me the same thing: this isn't working. I couldn't live on the West Coast and operate as if I still lived on the East Coast. And I couldn't drop my regular morning routine that I cherished and still operate at my best.
So here are some lessons learned about the relationship between mindfulness and setting healthy boundaries. It's essential to note that there is an important difference in how we might think of "being available," and what it means to be truly present.
1. Never give up what replenishes you.
Now that my girls are no longer young children, mornings are quiet in our house and I treasure this quiet time. I take some time in the morning for solitude, meditation and journaling. My routine typically takes about an hour. I didn't realize how much this quiet time replenished me and gave me clarity for the day ahead. It's my practice for how I recharge and prepare to be fully present for my day. I realized I can't skip over what recharges me and provides me with mental clarity, and still be the same person during the day. When you find a routine that makes you a better person, business owner, friend, spouse, keep that routine.
2. Showing up and being present are not the same thing.
My business, like many, is all about relationship-building. I love working with authors to help them create brands and gain publicity for their books. I am passionate about helping authors, so phoning it in is not an option. When I moved here and tried to give up my morning solitude to save time, I felt like I was in a fog all day. I was available for my clients and colleagues but I didn't feel fully present.
I'll say it again: showing up and being present are not the same thing. That's when I knew I had to listen to my body, return to my morning routine, and acclimate into a natural rhythm on the West Coast.
3. Always take advantage of your zone.
Do you ever sit down to do something with drudgery? Finding your zone is the exact opposite of that feeling. When you are in the zone, you lose track of time. You feel super charged, focused and productivity soars. I tell my daughters never to waste a zone. A zone might be an intense desire to workout, to write, to organize, to brainstorm, or come up with a strategic plan. You can accomplish great things when you take advantage of feeling in the zone. Make sure you honor it.
4. Never miss the opportunity to be in alignment with your body.
If you have a quiet voice that is telling you something isn't right, listen to it. You are probably on to something. Our bodies are great at telling us when something isn't right. We just have to listen.
If you feel like there is something weighing on you, but you aren't sure what it is (sometimes you just have an uneasy feeling), try writing it down in a journal. Journaling has been an excellent self-discovery tool for me. When you write, issues have a tendency to rise to the surface. Figure out what you need to change to feel like your mind and body are in alignment.
5. When you find a daily practice that enhances your life, stick with it.
And most importantly, strive for being present instead of just being available. You will be able to give others and yourself, your best self.
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