In my last post, I talked about getting clear on who you are and then getting consistent about how you show up. One of the first things I ask any client when we start to work on their executive presence is:


“Who are you when nobody’s looking?”


This means, for a moment, setting aside all the obligations, responsibilities and expectations of others. It means setting aside the worry about what other people will think. It means turning inward, and maybe sinking deep into a memory of the last time you made a decision, had a thought, or took an action that was entirely yours. Many times this is the first time you’ve considered this question. It might even feel difficult or wrong or bad to even consider the idea that you could think, for a moment or two, only about yourself.


Put it all aside.


I can tell you, it is the only way to begin to develop that presence you seek.


So often, in both subtle and overt ways, we allow others to determine who we are, how we are and what we do. From taking negative feedback too personally to altering our behaviour to gain someone’s approval, we seek to please. This leads to confusion, overcommitment, burnout and underdelivery.


Presence is an inside out job and it starts with that moment of looking only at yourself, only feeling your feelings, only thinking your thoughts – shutting down the noise. You cannot possibly be present with anyone else if you are not present with yourself.




Just for a moment…




“Who are you when nobody’s looking?”