I was inspired by a couple of blogs on what to do during boring meetings or conference calls. I agree with the writer that if you don’t need to be there, you don’t need to be there. Solve that.
Even in worthwhile, non-boring meetings there are lulls. At a conference, waiting for a talk to begin. A break between phone meetings. The time to sit and think while taking a bus, train, or plane. An alternative to fretting while waiting for that slow download.
The BNET blogger, Laura Vanderkam, got me started with one of her suggestions for a meeting: “Look around the room and think of one genuinely positive thought about each of the participants.” I like that one. You will feel better and you can bet you will have better rapport in your interactions.
You are an energy source. You can take that moment of lull to be aware of the energy you are holding. If it is not what you want to feel or share, take the moment to breathe, listen to your inner dialogue and notice your mental images.
Ask what is needed to shift your mindset. Maybe what will come up is a problem to solve or an irritant you can re-frame or address. There may not be an immediate answer. At least you can label and file it for creative solutions later. Then free your mind to be in the present.
It’s true that changing the inner conversation produces a change in results. Nonetheless, I sometimes find I can’t get much change working at the level of my conscious internal dialogue.
In moments of quiet I may be able to pick up the smaller voice, the little nag or self-criticism that is so familiar I don’t even notice it. Catching that thought during a lull in what I’m doing can lead to a hidden treasure in the form of old programming that I am ready to release. Later I can take time to journal or reflect or counsel with someone to help me let go of the deeper self-sabotage altogether.
Here are a few other handy fallback thoughts for when there’s a lull.
Gratitude List. What am I grateful for today? Right now?
Top Priority. What is my main focus in work or personal life? Keep it in mind in random moments.
Messages to send. To whom do I want to send good wishes, a thank you, just a thought?
Intuition. Open to the sense of knowing, receptive to a deeper awareness. What idea or wisdom comes in as a thought or image? Maybe jot it down or ask further questions and let answers arise.
And the best of all: just breathe and be present. Enjoy being alive in this moment. Put attention on what you are experiencing with all your senses. Hush the voice that says you should be doing something more “productive.”
A brief lull gives us a chance to remember that, as a favorite prayer says, “In this moment, all of my needs are met.” Ahhhhh.