A couple of weeks ago, we began an exploration of the Four Pillars of Presence. The first Pillar being Permission: Allow Yourself to be Seen. When we are vulnerable and seen as our authentic self, we create space for others to be themselves. In this way, presence invites presence. Being open, vulnerable, and present in the moment are components of stepping into and embracing the power of your individual presence.
However, we don’t just allow ourselves to be seen, we must also make conscious choices that affect how we are seen, which leads us to our second pillar.
Decide How You Want to be Seen
We do judge a book by its cover. This draws us to pick it up, read the back cover and dive into the book. The curb appeal of a house draws folks into wanting to check out the inside. When we think about ourselves, what cover do we want to share with the world? People look at us, and in a matter of seconds, they decide if they want to get to know us, believe us, trust us, or think we have something to offer them. They are looking at our cover, which is only partly our clothing/costuming. It is also our energy and attitude. If we show up – open and authentic – then it is easier for them to know what they will find inside. We want to make it easy for folks to want to know us. So, ultimately, we do decide how we want to be seen.
For example, a VP can walk into a meeting and her energy is prickly. She seems unaware or unconcerned about how she is showing up. She is off-putting, oozing irritation and others don’t feel comfortable giving attention to her. People respond to her “book cover.” Many times they display, and even outright mention, that they have no desire to read further. In contrast, another VP walks into a different meeting, also harried from the day, and though irritated, invites connection and permits others to see her – difficult energy and all. People move toward her, not away.
So HOW can we begin to take control of how we are seen and experienced by others?
Consciously choose your visual and energetic representation. This is the package you come in. How do you want to show up? Write this down. Say it out loud. Tell a trusted friend. Decide what to wear in clothing, as well as in the attitude that walks through the door with you. Remember, you want to make it easy for folks to know you. Keep breathing. These choices are not arrogant. They are choices about who you are. You give yourself permission to be who you are, who you want to be, and you give those around you permission to see you.
Be brave and give it a try! Pick something you want to focus on and choose how to been seen. It may be your next team meeting, or the next time you are getting to know neighbors. Make choices around how you want to be seen. I would love to hear about your experiences!