When I was a kid, my grandmother used to say, “Do you want a shovel? You could get more in your mouth.” I ate too fast.
This past Christmas, I went home to Chicago and my mother’s partner Michael said,
“You eat too fast. You need to chew your food.”
Some habits are hard to break.
Like you, this pandemic is creating a lot of anxiety and stress. It’s easy to get caught up in the what ifs or the what nexts. One way to break that mental loop is to get present. And the best way to do that is to recognize you’re in the anxiety loop. Then stop. And immediately use your senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you touch? How do your feet feel on the floor, how does your back feel in the chair, what is the temperature in the room? Breathe and repeat.
One of the best times to do this is when you’re eating a meal. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you touch? What do you feel?
Coincidentally, this is also a great way to practice executive presence. What? Yes. Presence. When people talk about executive presence, they usually focus on the output – gravitas (how you act), communication (how you speak), and appearance (how you look).
However, I’d argue the input is just as important. What are you receiving from your stakeholders? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? Because, after all, communication is a two way street. And being present is defined as fully focused on or involved in what one is doing or experiencing.
As you start your day, commit to slowing down. To staying present. Chew your food.