Self-Awarenesss and Presence

Photo by Harry Gruyaert

Presence is the state of being attuned to and able to comfortably express our true thoughts, feelings, values, and potential. It stems from believing in and trusting yourself-your real, honest feelings, values, and abilities.

Presence emerges when we feel personally powerful, which allows us to be actually attuned to our most sincere selves. We are no longer fighting ourselves; we are being ourselves. It’s about the honest, powerful connection that we create internally, with ourselves.

In order to be present, the various elements of the self- emotions, thoughts, physical and facial expressions, behaviors-must be in harmony. If our actions aren’t consistent with our values, we won’t feel that we’re being true to ourselves. If our emotions aren’t reflected in our physical expressions, we don’t feel real.

To be present, it’s not enough to know who you are and express it to others; you have to act on it. Psychologists William Kahn studied psychological presence in the workplace, identifying four critical dimensions: a person must be attentive, connected, integrated, and focused.

“These dimensions collectively define what it means to be alive, there in the fullest sense, and accessible in the work role. The result is personal accessibility to work (in terms of contributing ideas and efforts), others (in terms of being open and empathetic), and one’s growth (in terms of growth and learning). Such presence is manifested as personally engaged behaviors.”

There will always be new challenges, new uncomfortable situations, new roles- things that push us off balance and stoke our anxiety, forcing us to reexamine who we are and how we can connect with others. And presence can help us in these challenging moments.

“Presence is the inner self showing up.”


This article is an extract from Presence : Bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges ©2015 by Amy Cuddy. Published by Hachette Book Group