Your Present is Presence

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English is not a precise language. Between multiple definitions for single words and the stories we make up about what a word means based on our experiences, it can be confusing. 

Take the word presence. At LAITHOS, we use the word to talk about 1) being present and 2) how one shows up to others. Both have a profound impact on those around us. 

While we are strong proponents for mindfulness, being present is being grounded in “now.” When working with others, it is defined: by listening to understand; having curiosity to explore ideas; and other aspects that create and sustain trusted relationships with others. An added benefit is the current research which shows that when you focus on “now”, you lessen the stress and overwhelm that comes from looking past and forward. It allows you to handle what needs to be handled in the moment. It also allows you to experience what is present that sometimes gets lost in the busyness — the sounds of nature, a child’s laughter, a loved one’s smile… 

How you want to be perceived and the impact you desire falls under having presence. In our world, having presence involves showing up authentically and creating trusted relationships. To do so introduces certain risks counterbalanced by rich rewards. When you move from I-centric to We-centric, the power to make a difference and be supported by others increases. It can supercharge your impact. 

Neither one of these can exist without intention. You have to do the work to choose to be present — to be interested in what is in front of you — and choose to take the actions you need to be authentic and create relationships steeped in trust. In the words of our favorite African proverb – “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” 

This Week’s Challenge: For being present: Go outside and take a walk. Enjoy it with all your senses. For having presence, deconstruct a conversation that did not go well. As you look at it, consider how present you were to what the other person was saying. Were you listening to understand what was being said? How about how you were showing up? Consider your body language, your tone, your responses. Think about what might have served you better. Make a note and try it out next time. 

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