On Presence

Each month we choose a subject to base our content, events and learning on, and this month we are focusing on presence. Presence is as important as your mindset and it has enormous impact. Amy Cuddy, whose TED Talk has over 41 million views, is author of the book Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, which is serving as our textbook this month (if textbooks were interesting and practical, that is).

The book is loaded with learnings and we urge everyone to read it, but we’ve gathered some of what we considered to be the most useful takeaways. Presence is so important because it is what we use to engage, convince and enroll others. It increases trust, confidence, focus, clarity, energy, strength, performance and testosterone, and reduces anxiety, distraction, stress, pain, cloudy thinking and cortisol. As such, presence can help us all create the future we desire.

We can create the future we desire by acting, learning and building, so we’ve broken down our takeaways into those three categories:

Act. What actions are we going to take after reading this book?

To be Present, practice the following:

  • Deep breathing during day and when a big event occurs;
  • Do power poses (see page 200) before big events and throughout the day. Get big with your body versus small.
  • Pay attention. Put your phone down during meetings (put in a bag) and from time to time during the day;
  • Make sure you have good posture when using any electronic devices (see page 226). This is really a game-changer. We are getting weak by slumping over devices.

Learn. What are the key concepts from the book that will help us create the future we desire?

  • “The body shapes the mind. The mind shapes behaviors. And your behavior shapes your future.” We carry our stories in our body. Use your body to create new stories and change your state.

Build. Based on the learnings, what will we build?

  • We will pose a mannequin in a power position, as shown on page 200. Arrange a mannequin (like the ones art students use) in a power pose on your desk. This will remind you to practice your presence.

We’ll let Amy explain the rest when you read the book and watch her TED Talk, but this should get you started on being intentional with your presence.

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