Question: I personally have a problem with pursuing the future. When I do, I don’t live in the “now.” How can a person remain in the moment but also remain mindful of his future vision?
Answer: It does seem like we must have a bit of a split-personality to do both, doesn’t it? And there’s no doubt that it can be quite confusing at times. On the one hand we’re advised to live in the moment. I certainly subscribe to the philosophy of “live today like you’re going to die tomorrow.” If we spend too much time planning for the future we miss what’s happening today. But on the other hand, if we give no thought to the future, we may not achieve our ultimate goals and objectives.
I’m by nature a planner. I totally enjoy the “vision thing” and plotting a course of action to get there (the mission). A song from 1974 really put it in perspective for me though, and could easily be the national anthem for entrepreneurs . . . The Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin. To refresh your memory, the song refers to a father and son who are like ship’s passing in the night – always paying lip service to each other but never making the choice to spend quality time together. That song has served as a perpetual reminder to feel the full experience of what I’m doing every moment.
Living in the present and holding a future vision are not mutually exclusive. We entrepreneurs are so driven by our vision that we never have to worry about losing sight of it. It’s our natural disposition to gravitate to holding and nurturing our vision. What we generally have to work harder to accomplish is being in the now. I believe that the key to succeeding in both realms is to be intentional. This means that for whatever we’re doing we need to focus and really see what we’re looking at. If it’s a daughter’s soccer game or a son’s piano recital we need to intentionally focus our attention on this event. Enjoy it, embrace it, and celebrate it. Likewise, when we are contemplating our future vision, we do the same. Be there intentionally without any other distractions and enjoy, embrace and celebrate it. To steal a football term, I like to call this “intentional grounding.”
In the end it’s important to remember what we value. As entrepreneurs we value the passion we have for our friends and families as much as our passion for our chosen profession. The only way we can adequately tend to both passions is to be totally present for each. Succeeding in this regard takes a great deal of practice – it won’t happen overnight. But intentionality will make it so.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.