Robert Fisher: Committing to being in the moment

Robert Fisher, Chairman ICBA
Photo by Heather Esposito

Let’s collectively commit to being more present in all of our interactions. It won’t be long until we recognize what a true gift that is to ourselves and those we serve.

With the holiday season upon us, the concept of “present” takes on a frantic connotation. The quest for the right item can become a daunting task that takes away from its intended spirit of connection. That realization got me thinking about a book, The Present, which argues that the act of being in the moment is a gift unto itself.

A friend of mine sent me The Present a few years back, precisely because I was going here, there and everywhere. In reading it, I recognized that in my hurry to get the next thing done, I wasn’t present for my family or those at work in the way that I wanted to be. Its message resonated with me, reminding me of the importance of being in the moment with the people in my life.

My Top Three

My favorite takeaways from Spencer Johnson’s The Present are:

  1. Learn from the past, but don’t dwell in it.
  2. Enjoy the moment you’re in.
  3. Plan for the future, but be content with the now.

While not a complicated theory, it can be difficult to practice. As business leaders, we’re focused on planning for the future, and it can be hard to see what’s happening in the now. But little choices can make all the difference. For example, in team meetings, we’ve instituted a policy of checking our devices at the door. We’re more focused on each other as a result.

But a business can’t thrive by only living moment to moment; you also need to learn from the past and prepare for the future. Think of it like you’re a coach. On the field, you have to focus on the play at hand, because points are scored in the present. On the other hand, your calls are informed by past mistakes and future opportunities, so the key is to consider the past and future in light of what’s right in the moment.

That’s where we need to be as community bankers: listening to our communities’ and customers’ needs and interests in this moment. That active presence will help us uncover issues and truly hear from them in a way that sets us up not only to address concerns but to prepare for future products and services, too.

Lucky for us, this concept of being present speaks to our missions as community bankers. I can think of no better way of building relationships than to fully engage our customers and teams. So, let’s collectively commit to being more present in all of our interactions. It won’t be long until we recognize what a true gift that is to ourselves and those we serve.

Happy holidays and best wishes for a truly present season!


Robert Fisher Chairman, ICBA
Robert Fisher is president, CEO and chairman of Tioga State Bank in Spencer, N.Y.
Connect with Robert @RobertMFisher