Invest in the Moment: Cultivate Presence

by Martin Boroson

Cultivate leadership presence.

If you want authentic leadership presence, start by being present in the moment.

Some leaders just seem to have “it”—an aura of authority, a sense of being comfortable in their skin, an air of quiet confidence.

They have the ability to inspire others to follow them, trust them, and invest in them. The best also inspire others to be fully themselves—to manifest their own potential.

This winning personality trait is often called “presence.”

A person with presence can, through presence alone, foster a culture of loyalty, trust, spirited work, and high performance—a team of people that help maximize their impact and manifest their vision.

Perhaps this is why so many people crave leadership presence. They even seek out mentors or coaches, or study biographies of great leaders, hoping this will help them “get” it.

Presence, however, is not something you get from an outside source.  It’s not something that rubs off on you from someone else. It’s not even something that you can learn. And the more you chase after someone else’s “leadership presence,” the more you become, well, a follower.

Authentic presence springs from within.

And here’s all you have to do to cultivate it: Simply be more present.

Start now by taking a moment to check in with yourself. This step, described in the first article of this series, is what I call taking a “power pause,” or simply, making the decision to get real about what’s happening right now.

Doing this may well make you more aware of your feelings. These might be feelings you hadn’t known about or didn’t really want to acknowledge. These might be very “human” feelings you deem quite negative: I’m angry, I’m exhausted, I’m afraid.

But feelings don’t have to be beautiful or impressive—they just have to be true, for this step is just about authenticity. Simply ask yourself this question: What is true for you in this moment?

There’s no need for you to tell anyone about these feelings—you just have to notice them. It may help you to name them, one by one.

Stay open to the fact that what you feel in this moment may change in the next moment.  As you become aware of a feeling, simply let it in, let it be, and then let it go. Moment by moment, you may even notice some other feelings or dimensions of yourself bubbling up:  I’m curious. I’m happy. I’m excited. I’m ALIVE!

Just keep doing this–choosing to be more present, moment by moment. Gradually, what emerges is presence. Your presence. For as you acknowledge, accept, and embody your truth, there is just more of you here.

This authentic presence will attract other people, naturally. In other words, you are becoming more attractive not because you are aping others, but because you are not aping others. You are living from–and bringing forth–your true being with honesty and integrity. And that is presence. And people are inspired by it. They are drawn to it.

As you practice this, you may also become aware that feelings come and go, but you are bigger than these comings and goings. Finding deep roots within yourself, you are increasingly grounded in a stable, confident presence, a self that can withstand flux.

As you continue to invest in the present moment, something even better may happen: you will discover even greater depth within. Like an archaeologist excavating an ancient site, as you dig beneath the surface you uncover deeper and deeper levels, gradually revealing a treasure of extraordinary value: your unique voice.

My deep belief is that our world desperately needs more of this–by which I mean, more of you. Only by being yourself, openly and honestly, can you meet your real needs, help build a sustainable society, and help find innovative solutions to global problems.

If you, as a leader, want to play a part in this conscious evolution, leading others to greater happiness and building a world that is itself more grounded in truth, you must start from presence. You must bring all of you to the table.

Fortunately, you can begin right now, simply by choosing to more authentic in this moment–the one that is here.


Read the next article in this series:  Pay Attention

For updates follow @MartinBoroson or #investinthemoment

Read the introduction and all articles in this series.