What's your most valuable possession? Slide to power off and find out.

My 6 year old recently had a two week long Spring Break. Eighteen days off if you count the weekends. That’s like 250 in Mum years.

Her first week was spent at a lovely Broadway music day camp. But our second week was a bit of a scramble. And since my (and my husband’s) cell is constantly buzzing, we decided to relocate up north for a few days and relax.

As we rode up in the hotel elevator, everyone including me, was on their Iphone. In that moment, I made a conscious choice to be present.

I locked my cell in the hotel safe.

It sounds simple but being present is a wee bit of a challenge these days with the barrage of “breaking news updates” vibrating in your pocket. And having Siri as your go-to co-pilot, doesn’t help either.

As an improviser “getting out of your head” and being present is a fundamental rule. It allows for the magic of the moment to evolve naturally. When we get out of our heads in a scene, we are able to let go of the past, not fear the future and therefore create and connect openly in the now. Listening for gifts and trusting your partner in the moment brings a freedom not marred by overthinking and having to control the agenda. It also feels incredible.

For me, being present on our trip resulted in laughing more with my kid. The old school kind of laughter, where milk shoots out of your nose. When I was present, I didn’t fear judgement in my bathing suit, I just jumped in the pool. When I was present, I googled less and connected more, learning from locals about hidden gems to explore not available online.

At work, and in life, nothing jars my preserves more than someone checking their phone while talking to me. Straining to regain their eye contact, knowing you are not being heard and feeling disrespected, well sucks.

When did “proficient in multitasking” become a resume staple? There is no such thing as a good multi-tasker, I believe it's a word tech people invented to sell more apps. I think the definition of “Multi-tasker” is actually; someone who is afraid to commit to being present.

My locked hotel room safe reminded that being present is my most valuable possession. Practising what I preach and using improv rules in my life off stage allows for wonderful things to happen.

So, slide to power off your phone, be present and you may just learn something life changing from a stranger in an elevator like where to find the world’s best butter tarts.

Sway Partners Inc. combines techniques from improv, theatre and television with real-world business experience to teach people to communicate with proficiency, passion and purpose.

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