Learn a wealth of hard-won principles on being where your feet are from one of the most renowned sports executives in the United States, Scott O’Neil.
In this summary of the book Be Where Your Feet Are: Seven Principles to Keep You Present, Grounded, and Thriving, O’Neil takes on the hat of a mentor and shares his hard-won lessons and stories about what it means to be more present, grounded and thriving in a toxic world that makes it hard to stay focused. He shares principles we can all apply to our lives, whether it’s at work, at home, or in the broader community.
Table of contents
How We Can Be More Present
Scott O’Neil’s story provides insight that when we hit walls, and we all do at times, it can be an opportunity to reevaluate what we’ve prioritized and how we got there. For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic shook up everyday life and made us realize there were things we wanted to change. For Scott, getting to slow down and be present with his family without the fast-paced distractions of urgent emails and phone calls made him realize how much better he felt giving his family his undivided attention. He had the thought that being fully present in the moment or for the task at hand matters.
One of the ways you can be where your feet are is by learning what’s most important to you, or what O’Neil refers to as WMI. When you know what’s most important, be it family, a life-long goal, or helping others, you can make an intentional choice to live your life in accordance with what you value. So, it’s important to ask yourself the question: what’s most important? Then you can find the balance of being more present and grounded.
What It Means To Fail Forward
We’re all going to fail. It’s not enjoyable to think about, but none of us are immune to making a mistake. We may not make the right choice, experience a win at work, or show up as the parent we want to be all the time. But O’Neil stresses it’s not about avoiding failure, especially since that’s not possible; it’s about how we respond to it.
We can fail productively. That concept means we learn from each setback, and instead of letting disappointment keep us from moving forward, we see it as a personal development opportunity that will help us grow, get stronger, and show up differently in the future. We realize that failure teaches us a new skill each time, and to practice gratitude even when we’re disappointed. We learn to fail forward and take a new course of action.
Being a Team Player
Something he reminds all of us is to be a team player. That doesn’t just mean standing up for others who can’t defend themselves. O’Neil also encourages people to do small, seemingly mundane things, like picking up a piece of paper on the ground and throwing it away. If you see a problem, try to fix it or bring it to someone’s attention who can. Lend a helping hand.
What O’Neil drives home is that we can’t just assume someone else will fix a problem or take charge. We have to be willing to step up and proactively lookout for the people around us and take ownership. That doesn’t just apply to the workplace staff or management, it’s relevant advice for every aspect of our lives. We should take responsibility for our leadership and helping others in every situation.
Assuming the Best
One of the principles Scott O’Neil talks about in the book is assuming a person has good intentions. In terms of being a team player, it’s easy to be frustrated if it seems like someone doesn’t follow through. To a certain degree, we’ve all grown accustomed to assuming the worst. In this case, assuming negligence. But what if that person simply made an honest mistake and mixed up deadlines or needed to handle an unexpected family emergency? Or what if a friend didn’t invite you to a weekend barbecue? It could’ve been an innocent oversight rather than an intentional exclusion.
There are countless examples to use, but the point is that we can choose to assume people have good intentions. That practice gives us the ability to treat them with more kindness, patience, and respect while holding anger and resentment at bay during every interaction and conversation. Ultimately, it’s a habit that helps us love others well.
Trust the Process
O’Neil stresses how important it is to trust the process. No one wakes up one morning living their ideal life. Success at anything takes a lot of hard work, long days and nights, hitting the ground running, and consistent commitment day in and day out. In a world that expects instant gratification, it can be discouraging when we don’t see progress right away.
But, to do anything worthwhile and achieve our dreams, we have to keep going and keep trusting the process. That means not allowing emotion to cloud your judgment and making the decision to show up and be confident in knowing all the hard work will pay off on your journey. And this is advice that doesn’t just apply to business or professional lives, it applies to everything you set your mind to do well. The most important thing is to take ownership of your performance and push through resistance.
To be where our feet are and thrive, we need to lead with our core values, treat others well by being a team player, assuming they mean well, and trust the slow process of making progress. Those are principles that can keep our mental and emotional health in balance.