Normally I do not take my 12-year-old daughter with me when I go to nightclubs. (I won’t go into how abnormal it is for me to visit nightclubs these days.) Saturday night was an exception because her sister, Miranda, was performing at Music Farm with the band The Makeshift. As Miranda is a classical violinist, playing in a rock band was a new experience for all of us. Most of the time we couldn’t hear her, and a lot of the time we couldn’t see her, but she was definitely present.
Presence is something I wrote about in my dissertation on Hugo Chavez. However, the academic definition I used, which is the way a speaker chooses to influence his audience by emphasizing some elements and ignoring others, is not really what I want to write about now. What I mean by this most useful sort of presence is paying full attention to where you are right this very moment. Watching Marie Forleo’s latest video on presence gave me something to think about.
What is more powerful, confidence or presence?
Confidence is believing you are capable. Be present means you’re paying attention. Are these terms really interchangeable?
Here’s the thing. If you’re really paying attention to this present moment, you forget about yourself. And therein lies your power.
There is this part of your brain who has the job of keeping you safe. That is the voice you hear that will always tell you that you’re not good enough to succeed in something new. Everyone has it, and dealing with this survival mechanism is what empowers you to move forward in your life.
You may want to re-read that paragraph. It’s meaty.
Fear is omnipresent. You will never be without fear. The thing is to feel the fear and do what you need to do, anyway. Being present, being aware of your surroundings, helps you turn down the volume on your fear, see the potential you have to help people right this very moment, and to succeed anyway.
How to be present in this moment.
1. Take a deep breath. Pay attention to your breathing.
2. Carefully observe what’s around you. Notice the way things look, feel and smell.
3. Notice the people around you. Focus on helping them, and forget about being perfect.
Being present is easy. Remembering to be present is not easy. It’s much more "natural" to listen to your fearful self and remain stuck.
The world really does need your brilliance. To shine, you must be present with us. What do you think about presence vs. confidence? Share your thoughts by making a comment.