It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of the Masters. It’s “Augusta”, the coveted Green Jacket is on the line, and it’s Golf and competition at its best! It also happens to showcase great examples of how to be present in the moment. In every tournament, it is not uncommon for pro golfers to face challenges. At Augusta, it may mean you hit into the trees and land on the pine straw, you hit into the Azalea garden on the 13th, or like Sergio Garcia on the opening day this year, you hit five balls into the water on one hole. In each situation, to execute effectively, the golfer must focus, assess options, control emotions, and block out distractions, including thousands of patrons. In short, he must be present in the moment and think about this shot and only this shot.

Just like golfers in any tournament, leaders at every level must know how to be present in the moment.  It might be in making a decision, participating in or leading a team meeting, or having a one-on-one conversation with a team member.  With all the demands of leadership or any role, it is easy to be distracted – to be thinking about something that happened earlier in the day, what you need to do next, what you will say to debate the point, what is coming up next, the text you just got, the emails that are piling up, and on and on.  However, all of that robs us from being present with what is happening now, and we miss things – both positive and negative – and we become less effective.

To be more present, or more mindful, challenge yourself.  Really listen – to every word the other person is  saying (i.e., “listen for the period at the end of their sentence”).  Make good eye contact (connect; look at or make notes only in between comments for example). Put all electronic devices out of view and turn off the haptic notifications on wearables (i.e., watch, fitness bands, etc.).  Be mindful of the environment and setting for conversations (i.e., what is in the background – noise or other, the openness of the setting, etc.).

Being present not only ensures that you gain maximum benefit from what is happening now, it also honors and shows respect to the others with you – whether they are co-workers, friends, or family.  It is your opportunity to think about your own shot – the shot with this person or these people – in this moment.  What will you do with it? Whatever it is, make the most of it.