Want To Be Here
Advice that Stuck
you catch any of Jay Leno's finale week on The Tonight Show?
I'm typically fast asleep by late-night television time, but
in a sentimental move, I set my DVR to record Jay's last few
shows. His celebrity lineup included Matthew McConaughey who
returned for a 16th appearance. McConaughey recalled the advice
Jay had given him years earlier to calm his nerves before
walking on stage. It was this: Just want to be
here. According to McConaughey, it was advice
that stuck and applied to many life situations, not just performing.¹
It's the Deeper Motivation
There are two things I like about "just want to be here."
First, there's the mindfulness part: be here, in
the present moment. Then there's the word: want.
When you obviously want to be somewhere (think palm tree,
sunny beach, vacation), you're not worrying about how you're
doing it -- you just do it.
Now imagine the younger Matthew McConaughey on the night
of his first Tonight Show appearance. Jay's advice might have
changed his self-talk from: What if I say something stupid?
to: Hey, I'm about to go on the Tonight Show. That's pretty
So how does this apply to our non-celebrity lives?
And what about those times when it's not as obvious as my
sunny beach example that you want to be there?
Recently one of my goddaughters was getting ready for an
intense day of interviews for a highly competitive Ph.D. program.
After developing talking points for the specific questions
she anticipated, we wrapped up her preparation by acknowledging
what a terrific opportunity this is and how much she has to
contribute to the program. This helped her focus on the bottom
line: what she wants the interviewers to know about who
Deciding to "want to be here" connects
you with the big picture and your deeper motivation.
It's a reminder that you can choose your attitude and set
the intention to: be yourself, remain curious, and do your
Try It Out
As McConaughey noted, you can apply this advice to many situations
in life, not just when you're on stage.
This Week's Call To Action:
- The next time you feel nervous about performing
well, switch to the "just want to be here"
mindset. For instance: when you're speaking in front of
others, making a presentation, or interviewing for a job.
- Take this mindset to ordinary everyday events,
especially when you're distracted or preoccupied with what
you've got to do next. For instance: while sitting in a
staff meeting, working out at the gym, or having dinner
with your family.
I've never liked those bumper stickers that say: I'd
rather be... skiing... rock climbing... or walking my dog.
Why make it a habit to prefer being somewhere other
than where you are?
Thanks for the tip, Jay.
See you in the current,
¹Here's a one-minute clip of Matthew McConaughey relaying the story.
²Related Articles: What
Do You Get To Do Today? ; Know