Be All There

Once a friend of mine (whom I happen to think is more tuned-in to people’s needs than almost anyone else I know) went on a first date. He said the evening was pleasant, but felt his date was a bit distant. At the end of the evening when he brought up the subject of possibly going out again she informed him, “No, I don’t think we can go out again. You’re just not emotionally available for me.”

I know this wasn’t true for my friend, but have you ever been there? Ever been with someone, but it was obvious that they weren’t really there with you in the room? Frustrating, isn’t it?

[Insert tongue firmly in cheek as you read this next paragraph.] Now I’m certain that none of the readers of my blog would ever be distracted like this. And I know I’ve never done this myself. Since you and I, dear reader, always are 100% attentive to the people in the room with us, these next two quotes probably won’t pertain to you, but here they are anyhow:

“The human brain is simply not designed to multitask. You can get by doing multiple things at once, but you can’t do them well. Your brain is physically unable to process more than one set of instructions at a time, so while you are juggling all of those actions at once, your brain is scrambling to keep up. Through a variety of experiments measuring brain activity, scientists have discovered that the constant switching back and forth from one activity to another energizes regions of the brain that specialize in visual processing and physical coordination, while simultaneously disrupting the brain regions related to memory and learning. According to the research, ‘we are using our mental energy to concentrate on concentrating at the expense of whatever it is that we’re supposed to be concentrating on.’ Got that?

“More simply: when we multitask we’re dumber. How much dumber? A recent study for Hewlett Packard exploring the impact of multitasking on performance revealed that the average worker’s functioning IQ drops ten points when multitasking…. (The analogy the researchers used is that a ten-point drop in IQ is equivalent to missing one night of sleep.)” —Marcus Buckingham, Find Your Strongest Life

“Concentration, which leads to meditation and contemplation, is therefore the necessary precondition for true hospitality. When our souls are restless, when we are driven by thousands of different and often conflicting stimuli, when we are always ‘over there’ between people, ideas and the worries of this world, how can we possibly create the room and space where someone else can enter freely without feeling himself an unlawful intruder?” —Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer

This week I’m making it my goal to be all there for whomever is here with me. I’m going to try my best to eliminate multitasking and truly concentrate on the one spending time with me. Are you ready to try this with me? Let me know how it goes.

Find Your Strongest Life (book review)


You might be thinking, “Why is he reviewing this book?” After all, the subtitle of Marcus Buckingham’s latest book is “What the happiest and most successful women do differently.” Well, guess what? I absolutely loved this book! I’m excited for my wife to be able to read Find Your Strongest Life, but in the meantime, I got so much out of it.

One of the things I love about Marcus Buckingham’s books is that they read just like he sounds: a silky smooth British accent. But it’s not just about style; his books have plenty of substance too. I especially love Marcus’ focus on building on strengths, as opposed to trying to fix weaknesses.

The other thing I appreciate is how affirming Marcus is. His comfortable style feels highly personalized—sort of like he’s sitting on the other side of the coffee table from me.

Find Your Strongest Life opens with some background information on the important timing for this book. Then after taking a simple online assessment to learn your leading and supporting Life Roles, you’ll learn more about how to capture and cradle your strongest moments. Then you’ll learn how to use these strong moments to purposely imbalance your life in favor of those strong moments.

So many of Marcus’ ideas sound counter-intuitive, and yet they ring so true at the same time. From my personal experience from reading and applying the principles in his other books, I can attest that this man knows what he’s talking about. I know I found several takeaways from this book, and I’m especially excited to see how my wife and the other key women in my life are going to be able to use this book to make a stronger life for themselves.

An excellent read for anyone.

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