The magnetic lure that lives in our front pocket or purse, while also serving as the personal gateway to the social media universe, has a power that is unparalleled. It has the ability to transport us light years away from the moment in an instant (or a tweet, new insta post or email) much to our chagrin and the frustration of others.
Yes, our cell phone has become more than a device to reach out and touch someone. In fact, I suggest that the phone function is the least used of all its superpowers and might as well be called out for what it is — a relic left behind for posterity. In truth, a portable or mobile phone (as they were once called), is the ultimate distraction, an accessory to aloofness and, of course, a key contributor to exhaustion and disruption.
How, you might ask, does a small piece of electronic equipment that weighs less than a pound and is smaller than an index card have the ability to control our lives? I wonder the same thing every day.
Sit in any room — board room, classroom or networking luncheon — and you will see the adverse affects of the ubiquitous smart phone. No longer are we unable to see eye-to-eye, but instead, we are subject to viewing only tops of heads (a strong boost for the salon industry), bowed in genuflection to the almighty cell phone.
I am amazed at both its power and its predictability. Yet, it is essential in today’s work force — we all agree to that. We can stay connected anywhere, anytime and in any way we want. Gone are those pesky boundaries that once allowed us to take a vacation or a mental health day or go off the grid and recharge. No longer are we able to be present without needing to check our phone every single moment to read the latest email, check out the Twitterverse, post a story to Instagram, swipe left (or right) on your Tinder profile or see who is checking us out on LinkedIn.
I make it a routine practice to look around any room I am in and assess how people are engaging with their cell phones. I am just as guilty, so this is not meant as much as a scolding as it is a stern warning. We are destructively disconnecting — not from just work — but from each other. I have friends who prefer you text them only. How do I know — they never return a call — they just send along a return text. In many cases, hard to decipher texts. I feel like I needed to have majored in hieroglyphics to interpret their pithy, emoji-laden messages that almost always get lost in translation.
Your mindful presence is what makes life so interesting and so magical. I don’t care if you are in the car alone or sitting next to a potential client. Your attention is needed and it is the most critical component to closing the deal.
With the new year upon us, let’s focus on being more present, more plugged in, more mindful and don’t be afraid to leave that phone in your purse, bag, pocket, car or office.
It is not going anywhere.
On the contrary, it will ensure that you and your business are.