The past few weeks have been full of work to be done before the holidays and end-of-term obligations related to our children. In this frenzy, I’ve had moments of feeling more dead than alive. Therefore, I felt a calling to write about aliveness.
When we talk about executive presence it’s easy to get stuck on the first ideas of someone impeccably dressed, showing up with confidence, communicating with ease and eloquence. I often see a tendency to aim for polish and perfection. The problem with striving for perfection and living up to the expectations of others is that you may miss the quality of aliveness, which is essential for your presence.
Cultivating aliveness – finding your magnetic presence
Cultivating aliveness and vitality will support you in being more influential and inspiring in your personal interactions. It will also make you more connected to yourself. Here are some ideas on how to you can become more alive:
Do something that brings you joy
We all have our own ways of finding joy and to energise ourself. It may be doing a sport, walking in nature, making music, dancing, solving a sudoku, playing with your pet, having a great discussion with friends, reading a good book, or something else. What are the activities or moments that make you forget about the time and focus completely on what you are doing? What makes your mind, your heart, or your body come alive? And how can you bring some of that sense of joy and aliveness back to work?
Sharpen your awareness
When our heads are busy with everyday demands, we tend to lose the contact with our senses and with what is going on around us. To sharpen your sensorial awareness, stop for a brief moment a couple of times per day and ask yourself one the following questions:
– What am I seeing now? Notice colours, shapes, people, the quality of light, etc.
– What sounds am I hearing now? Notice the whirr of a computer, background noise, voices, etc.
– What do I feel physically? Notice the chair beneath you, the temperature of the room, your feet on the floor, your breath, heartbeat, etc.
Stopping for ten seconds to connect with your senses in this way can be enough to make you more aware, alive and present to those around you.
Honour yourself and what matters to you
When you set meaningful boundaries around what you engage in, you will stand taller and straighter. This is the root of a powerful presence. Honour the values and beliefs that are core to who you are when you choose to engage in activities and relationships.
Be kind to yourself, especially when you make a mistake. Be proud and grateful for what you bring to the world. Remember that what may seem like a trivial quality to you – like being a good listener – may be a huge gift for someone else.
I hope that this summer will bring you plenty of time to cultivate aliveness and reconnect with yourself .
As for myself, I plan to spend more time doing what brings me joy: hiking in nature, making music, and spending time with friends and family. And in autumn it’s time for something else that makes me come fully alive: I have lined up a number of great public workshops. If you are looking to work on your presence, voice or public speaking, I would love to have you join one of them!