Today we drove into New York City. We flew in from Orlando, and despite only a short flight we were exhausted – 3 days of the highly engaging content at Work Human 2016 having taken its toll somewhat on energy stocks.
As we drove from JFK, the New York City skyline emerged from the fog and formed into that great iconic vision featured in so many of the favourite movies and TV shows of my childhood. And I confess, I noted its presence, and simply looked back down at my email to sort the endless fires that occur in any business.
And a part of me wanted to slap me. And probably should have. Once safely showered and refreshed in my hotel room the enormity of what I had done, or in fact failed to do, struck me. This is the skyline that I used to measure success with as a child. If I ever got to see this fabled place I would know that I had made it. And there I had been, driving past it, and not even really acknowledging its existence. And I had to ask – what happened to the ‘wow’ of life? The awe filled moments of discovery? The delight of new experience? The joy of repeated experience? The connection to LIFE?
I think the rush of life, the stress of being all the things we think we are expected to be, to all the people we think we should be, disengages us from the experience of actually being alive. During a presentation we were fortunate enough to see last week from Michael J Fox he said that he thought there was never a good way to use the word ‘should’. This really resonated for me this week. Should is the fog that prevents us from engaging with the here and now – and robs us of the WOW moments.
And the here and now is very WOW! I walked through the streets of New York City today – albeit going from meeting to meeting. However, I met wonderful people all day, had wonderful, enjoyable crazy weather and saw buildings with such history you cannot help but acknowledge how short your own time on Earth is. And I get to do it all again tomorrow. And in a little less than a week I get to fly home and see my wonderful husband, family and all the people I love and get to have the rest of my life of WOW moments.
So I make this commitment today. I commit to being fully engaged with my environment. I will not allow my email, or the current fire, or blogs or tenders or any other perceived priority to interfere with my ability to appreciate the WOW, and to be present here and now for the people that I love and care about. And I encourage you to all to join me on this challenge!