Executive Coach Executive CoachExecutive Coach
Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

Focus on What You Can Do Now

Image via phloxii/Shutterstock.com

One of the biggest barriers to being present is worrying about what might happen in the future rather than what you can do right now.

Two of my favorite quotes speak to this challenge.  The Renaissance writer, Montaigne, wrote, “My life has been full of misfortunes most of which never happened”.  A few hundred years later, Thomas Jefferson expressed the similar idea, “How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.”

This topic is on my mind today because of a realization I had after a yoga class yesterday.

Thanks to the normal wear and tear of middle age along with some of the chronic conditions that can make themselves at home in our bodies, I’ve been focused a lot lately on some wonky tweaks going on with me.

In my less mindful moments, I find that I can pretty quickly get sucked into the “What if?” cycle.  You know how it goes.  “What if this happens?  Then, what if that happens?  Wow, what if that happens too?  That would really stink.”  Before I know it, I’ve wasted a good bit of time on those questions and usually feel worse than when I started asking them.

So, as I was laying on the mat waiting for class yesterday, I was sort of doing the full body scan trying to predict how things were going to go for the next 90 minutes.  Spoiler alert – it went great.  The sweat flowed in a good way.  The joints moved nicely.  The muscles stretched.  I even got up into a handstand on the first attempt and set a new personal record for holding it for several seconds with my feet away from the wall.

On the way home from class, I was thinking about and feeling grateful for all of the things my body can do.  Then I started wondering why I’ve spent so much time worrying about what it might not be able to do in the future.  The fact of the matter is there are things I can’t do today that I used to be able to do (running a marathon for example).  But, there are still a hell of a lot of things I can do right now and I’m actually learning new ones (like handstands) all the time.

So, on this Mindful Monday, here’s what I’ve concluded.  My capabilities aren’t determined by my limitations. (TWEET THIS) Unless, of course, I spend so much time worrying about what my limitations might be in the future that I don’t maximize my capabilities today.

What capabilities do you have today that trump any limitations you might have?

Image via phloxii/Shutterstock.com

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.