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Being Present in an Absent World

People in today’s world often feel overbooked, overwhelmed, lonely, even though they are plugged in to countless social media networks. But we are meant to lead lives of purpose and meaning and relationship, and when we put the effort into making those connections, we become better people, both in the business world and in our personal lives.

Daniel Montgomery, along with his co-authors Dr. Eboni Webb and Kenny Silva, have written a guide to provide you with biblical ways of handling the pressures of day-to-day life without feeling as though you need to escape. How to Be Present in An Absent World is an all-inclusive guide showing you the impact of “showing up, paying attention, and becoming fully human.”

How to be Present in an Absent World is meant to reward 15 minutes a day of reading. How do you want readers to engage with your book? 

The hope and prayer is that [readers] immediately experience tactics and tools that allow them to be more grounded, to practice the presence of Christ in wherever they find themselves. Beyond that, we wrote it not to convince ourselves, but someone that typically isn't so convinced by what's called the “soft skills,” and to win them over. There's Christians who have their devotional life and they have their business practice, and it could be far better and integrated. 

The goal is to give them a vision, and that's why there's a business case for each section. Not by putting verses on their corporate vision and values, but by really thinking about how they benefit their people by being more thoughtful and mindful of the way they work, and so each chapter deals with that. 

What kind of pressures do leaders face in today's world that they might not have faced 50 years ago? 

I think it's legion, but it really comes down to being over connected and disconnected. [People are] more connected to information than they've ever been; it's exponential compared to what it was, and that information comes in so many forms. And so people are over loaded, overworked, overwhelmed and information is a part of that. 30 years ago, there was not near the amount of information, and the level of trust towards leaders was way higher. They have less trust [now]. The people have instant access to information at their fingertips, and it's, it's immediate, it's everywhere, and it's accessible to everyone. So I think that puts some serious pressure on leaders that didn't exist before. 

What are ways a leader can slow down and start focusing on being present? 

Savor the moment. Part of enjoying is noticing new things, recognizing the company that's around you, taking time to savor and be aware of your senses. There’s a discipline of noticing and actually actively looking for something that I appreciate about my life or my children. Maybe it's the way my youngest skipped into the room, or my wife has a Southern accent or her blue eyes or you know, something she did to set up the home. And even that discipline, noticing something new, slows us down and amplifies the moment, according to the research and science. In conversation, even the simplicity of seeking to actively notice something new or we didn't recognize about the person before allows us to experience that moment more fully, and actually slow down time. That would be one discipline that I actively practice, whether I'm in an engagement with a client or my family. I don't try to multitask and think I can be on my phone and no one will notice.

What is the danger of isolation? 

I think people think friendships and relationships are optional. When we were young, friendships were a little bit easier. You just went next door and played with your neighbor. Then we get older and go to college and it gets, it's not quite as hard in college, but it's still hard. And then you get married, and that's when people say friendships start to get hard and more difficult, then you have kids. 

[Relationships] aren’t without sacrifice. You want great work, it's great sacrifice, great marriage, great sacrifice. Great friendships, connection, great sacrifice. I usually have to coach leaders to catch a vision of the necessity of connections and friendships, and then I just encourage them to get into the mess. As one author says, it's a mess worth making. 

The business world has been brutal. I think the amount of mental challenges for entrepreneurs and CEOs, but I find that 10 to 15 minutes with a close friend on a phone call is as good, if not better than, an hour therapy. It helps me work through overwhelming anxiety and this sense of loneliness, whether it's loneliness of friendship, or financial loans, etc. I reach out and say, I need someone. And that's something I have always done is asked for help, and I've always been someone that's recognized that I need a bench of advisors and a net of friendships. I always want to give more than I take, but I'm willing to ask for help.

Click here to purchase How to Be Present in An Absent World.

Guest Name / Person Interviewed or Featured in Article or Video: 
Daniel Montgomery
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