The Emotional Labor of Being Present

In a workshop I did last week, a woman said, “I am often in back to back 30-minute meetings for seven or eight hours. How can I stay present for all of them? It’s exhausting!” 

Yes. It is. Seth Godin writes about this concept–emotional labor is what many of us do now. We’re not digging ditches or building buildings; we’re showing up day in and day out and working with other people, solving problems.

The woman in the workshop wanted me to give her a way to check out of some of these meetings. I get it—it’s really hard to keep showing up, to keep being present, to engage 100%. 

And yet. When we don’t engage, when we allow ourselves to default into being distracted or wishing this day were over already, we’ve wasted the opportunity to create something, to be available to a new idea, to support someone in their journey.

The good news is that the more we practice this presence, the more capability we have. As with any other type of labor, this is a muscle you can build.

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