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Episode 24: What Does "Conscious" Mean? Part 1: Presence

Jennifer Mulholland & Jeff Shuck
January 22, 2021

Now more than ever, we are being called to raise our consciousness and engage with the world around us. But what does being "conscious" even mean? And why is it important to practice now? In today's episode we start to unpack the idea of conscious leadership and examine the first component of being conscious: being present. 

To lay the groundwork, we start by outlining what we see as four core components of being conscious: being present, becoming aware, deepening connection and aligning for good

  • Present. Being conscious starts with getting here, now — not living in the past or the in the future, but bringing our full selves to the current moment. When you bring your full presence to any interaction, you access your authentic truth and tap into your ability to navigate the nuances, so that you can make empowered decisions that align with who you really are. Your presence is your superpower.
  • Aware. By becoming present, we can become more aware. We call that awareness "seeing what is" — dropping our stories, our myths, and our imaginings to see, sense, and hear what is alive now. This helps us make decisions that aren't informed by regrets of the past or fears of the future. We are more able to hear the quiet whispers of our inner knowing as we notice the sights, sounds, and signs around us. Awareness is multi-dimensional – in other words, the evidence we see isn't just physical. It's mental, emotional, and spiritual, too. That multi-dimensional allows us to see what is in front of us so that we can feel confident in the decisions we make as we take each next step. 
  • Connected. When we are present and aware, we find we are more deeply connected to ourselves and simultaneously connected to something bigger than ourselves. Like the microbiome in the soil, we're part of a living ecosystem.  It's also easier to be honest with ourselves. Feeling connected to our truth is where empowerment lies. Feeling connected to the whole is where unity lies. Experiencing connection makes it much easier to drop positions and debates and build common ground with others. When we act from a place of connection, we can truly help one another create a better world. 
  • Aligned for good. Being a conscious leader is a choice. It is a commitment to idealism, altruism, and service. Conscious leaders recognize that success comes from service to others. When we are aligned for good, we are more inclined to see the good in others. When we see the good in others, we can create mutual alignment for good to grow. 

Being a conscious leader starts with a commitment to practice presence. Whether at work or at home, in a meeting, or cooking dinner, our presence can always be brought to where we are.

Here are a few ways to practice presence this week:

  1. Bring yourself fully to your virtual meetings: If you find yourself on a virtual meeting (as most of us do nowadays!), be intentional about your environment. Turn off your other applications (literally quit them so their notification sounds no longer interrupt the space). Hide the self-view of your own camera, so you are not looking at yourself while you are speaking. Tune out of the distractions and tune into the dialogue.
  2. Tame your busy schedule: Take a look at your calendar and your commitments. What can come off? What can you say "no" to so that you can say "yes" to the things that really deserve your attention and presence? How can you create more space in your own day?
  3. Bring awareness to your senses: One of the best ways to practice presence is to notice what you feel, hear, sense, and see in the moment. Notice your breath, without changing it. Is it deep or shallow. Notice your body. What is supporting you in your seat? How does it feel to be lying down or standing on the ground? Notice the sounds. What do you hear around you? Notice your sight. What do you see in your space? 
What tools help you to be more present? How do you practice presence? We'd love to know. And as always, if it speaks to you, please rate, review, and share the episode – we value your referrals so much. 


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