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Wherever you are, be there. To me, the definition of success is the person who is waking up every day, who lives by a set of values, who has a goal, an objective, and a why in their life that they are trying to accomplish. This person is putting forth the most effort and energy possible to get there. Whether they are a teacher, coach, doctor, lawyer, engineer, artist, financial advisor, working in a nonprofit sector, or running a business. It doesn’t matter if they make $25,000 a year or $25,000,000 a year. Success is not about titles or income or net worth. Interestingly, individuals are often rewarded with high net worth, high incomes, and a great deal of responsibility. Sometimes they are even rewarded with titles, but that is an ancillary benefit of the principles we are talking about.

It’s important for us to look to the future; people have to focus on the future when thinking about their goals, but it is important not to neglect the present. The most successful people in the world have the ability to maximize their current situation. The past is over. Successful people use the past as a lesson. They look toward the future because that is what gives them hope and helps them work through adversity. But they are extremely good at focusing on the present. Wherever you are, be there.

Let’s use the example of a successful businesswoman. She is having a conversation with her key people. She is not thinking about the board meeting that is happening in a week or her son who failed his geometry test. At the moment, all of her energy is focused on the issues at hand with that key conversation with that key employee. The employee is the center of her attention. When she is with her family, she is not thinking about meetings or to-do lists for the next day. She is not replaying the conversation she had at the workplace or on the golf course earlier that day. She is engaged and focused on her relationships at home; her children and her spouse. She understands the importance of maximizing the present – Wherever you are, be there.

When you maximize the present, you will be amazed by the lessons that you learn or the things you observe. More important, when you maximize the present, it allows the people around you to see that you care, and when people see that you care, they will do just about anything in the world for you or with you.

Too often, we do not maximize today because we are too busy focusing on the should’ve, would’ve, could’ve of two hours ago, or two weeks ago, or two years ago. Or, we are too busy thinking, “OK, I have to do this, that, this and that” instead of maximizing today.

So how do you get to a place where you can maximize today? What are the steps?

It starts with conditioning; it is like exercise or working a muscle. It does not occur overnight. Often times, people get discouraged because they want instant results.

Today, we live in a world where instant gratification is so prevalent. Whatever it is you want, you name it, and you can have it now – that is what the world and media try to drill in our heads. We know better, we know that discipline and consistent effort win the day and that shines through with what we know as delayed gratification. When it comes to your ability to maximize the present, the discipline to stay focused on the task and the people at hand, this will provide you observations and experiences that you will cherish for a lifetime.