Presence: Overcoming Your Challenges by Bringing Your Boldest Self

by Jan 3, 2021

What if you could show up with presence in your workplace, being your true authentic self? How would it feel to be recognized for your opinion, your values, and your unique strength?

This is what it is to have “presence”. Presence is a book about personal power that you can tap into at any time. Our book club recently dug into this book, and I had so many takeaways, but would like to share with you my top 10.

The past year has been devasting for the event community in one way, however it has been insightful in another. We’ve been able to transition to a different way of creating experiences. Virtual events gives us an opportunity to tap into technology as a bridge to human connection. These new opportunities allow us to have a different perspective not only on how events are managed moving forward, but how we authentically connect with others in our personal and professional lives.

What Presence brings to the take is an invitation for you to look into what really matters to you as a person. Then as you look through the lens of your life or your business, you always recognize you. Without the filter. Can you truly say that for your life?

Because presence is linked into the everyday, into the ordinary transactions of our lives. If we can’t find that we can be our unique selves, then frankly we are in the wrong place. Here are my top 10 takeaways from the book Presence by Amy Cuddy. Read on and learn a bit more about presence and reflect on how having a little more presence can work for you.


What is presence?

“Presence is being attuned to and able to comfortably express our true thoughts, feelings, values, and protentional.” When we are able to feel present, then our thoughts, movements, postures, speech, all align and synchronize. Amy Cuddy mentions that we are no longer fighting ourselves, we are being ourselves. This was a great takeaway and leaves a question on, are you always being your true self? If not, in what areas of your life do you struggle?


Reaffirm parts of your authentic best self and how you value it most

Much of this book gave much room for personal introspection. It lays out a fundamental question that we all should consider. “Do you trust your own story?” You see, there is a power in believing, trusting, and owning your true story. To do this, you have to self-affirm your boldest self, all of its challenges and experiences. When you do this, you can clarify your story, and it allows you to fully trust that who you are will come through in everything you say and do.

In order to trust your story, you have to be courageous to face your story. Sometimes that can be difficult for you if you have had a pretty tough challenge in your life. Many times we want to suppress it, but it is apart of who you are. And there is a personal power that you have, when you face it, and move forward authentically.


Preparation helps you go from what to how

Throughout this book, Amy Cuddy brought to the surface many case studies of presence, and many interviews and expressions that she’s received about presence through other people. One of those stories was that of Julienne Moore. I really appreciated Julianne’s insight of presence. Julianne shared how intricately she partnered with preparedness when it came to her showing up authentically for role castings, and other opportunities. She said that preparation is a key component of presence. For her, she had to prepare enough to allow herself to have an authentic experience on camera.

Event planners can relate to this, because our lives are all about preparation for events. It shows how by preparing the event experiences, we can allow our clients to not focus on what they are doing (the event), but how they want to communicate their purpose through that event.


Being present gives opportunities for you to help others

Many times we can be so focused on ourselves, how we are communicating, if we sound right, if we believe our stories that we aren’t able to focus on the needs of others. The wonderful thing about presence, is that when you practice presence often you’ll find that you open yourself to opportunities of giving help to other people. There can be so much freedom when you finally trust yourself to show up in your life as who you are, because then, you can show up for others that need it.


Kick the imposter to the curb

Do you ever battle yourself? Do you tell yourself that you aren’t supposed to be here, or do not deserve a thing? Well, you could be suffering from what Amy Cuddy calls impostorism. I also think of this as imposter syndrome. Everyone at one point or another experiences self-doubt. And if we aren’t careful we can be trapped by it. We can gain power over self-doubt by becoming more aware of what makes us anxious, communicating them, and learn more about how they operate. That will help us to get more comfortable, and really put them aside the next time it comes up.


Powerlessness alienates us from ourselves

Amy spends a big portion of the book talking about powerlessness. How the shackles of powerlessness can rob you of your freedom if you aren’t careful. We underestimate the power that we have, that in this depleted state it “convinces us that we lack the power to control the situations we’re in.” However, power comes from your genuine self, and with it, you can be truly free.


Personal power vs social power

We are a witness to power every day. Amy Cuddy in her book narrows down power to two types, personal and social power. Social power is when a person possess assets that others are needing. This might be food, tools, information or status. They use that position of power, to gain influence or some type of control over others. This type of power can feel like dominance, especially when terribly abused.

However, personal power is “freedom from the dominance of others.” It is limitless because it depends on the resources within you. Your skills, your abilities, values, personality, and your boldest self. Again, when we tap into this, when we can be in places that we can be truly authentic, then we have made a match and we can show up in our true power.


Tap into your personal power, it is limitless and infinite

Many may wonder about how personal power can be limitless. Above I explained it is due to you tapping into your inner abilities. However I learned in the Presence book that it is also your ability to act, to rise about excessive deliberation and do something. This takes your personal power from being not only a state of mind, but a force of nature.


The power of a pose

You may have heard Amy Cuddy’s position on power poses in the past, during a Tedtalk that she did that became amazingly popular. Personal power also can be gained by the pose that you carry. I encourage you to watch her video, and then strike a Wonder Woman pose before your next big move.


Self-Nudging helps you to make small tweaks that lead to big changes

Big moves require big changes, and many times big changes can bring on anxiety and fear. However smaller nudges in a healthy direction usually is what evokes the biggest change. In Presence, Amy Cuddy suggests that you move away from the New Year’s resolution and focus on the tiny changes that you can make in your mindset and in your life to make the biggest impact for later.


Fake it until you become it

If you have a vision of where you want to be, sometimes to get there you have to not only fake it to you make it, but you should “fake it until you become it” according to Amy Cuddy. You have to always be present, even when you are presented with challenges. Go into situations without any regrets. One of the best quotes that was a empowering takeaway in the book was: “It’s about fooling yourself, just for a little bit, until you feel powerful, more present – and it’s about keeping up the practice, even if it takes time to get there.”


Final Thoughts

Presence was an enjoyable book that gives you the opportunity to look within, own your true story, and show up every day in full acceptance of where you’ve been, and full empowerment to steer in the direction that you want to go.

If you have read this book, I would love to hear what you think about it by leaving a comment below. To join our book club, check out the book club page for the next upcoming book and get connected!

P.S. Want another book that helps you do step out and life the life you are dreaming? Check out my review of Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, it’s an excellent choice.


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