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Entries from September 2016

What stops us being present? The answer may surprise you.

28th September 2016

Being present

One of my fundamental beliefs about leadership is you can’t learn to lead and develop others until you first learn to lead and develop yourself.

Once you learn what motivates you, the impact you have on others, your blind spots and how you ‘get in your own way’, you can more accurately support your team and peers to do the same. AND, you can do this by sharing your own examples, which is really powerful.

Knowing yourself means developing the awareness to recognise thoughts and feelings as they happen. It gives you inner strength and confidence and helps you be decisive under pressure.

Wherever you go there you are

Who you are is how you show up.

As a leader you are presented with a whole myriad of decisions and choices in any hour of any day, and we all know the speed of change these days. So it’s no wonder your head is full of your ‘to do list’, the next meeting, the call you just had etc.

Your thoughts create your actions and your actions are what others assess you on.

To really know your self you need to take time out to be present with yourself. If you can get present with yourself you can be more present with other people.

What stops us being present?

The answer to this is really simple – your thoughts.

Your thoughts are created by your experiences, your values and what’s important to you. These thoughts then create the lens by which you view the world and act. It’s how you perceive the world and your perceptions are deeply embedded, particularly by the time you lead others.

These beliefs and opinions then allow us to create assumptions, stories, fear and anxiety about what we see. On top of this we are constantly assessing the environment to see if it’s safe. Do I fit in? Am I good enough? Am I in control? Do they like me?

It is this type of thought that limits your ability to think clearly and take action.

Don’t get me wrong, not all of your thoughts are ‘bad’. The truth is these more negative thoughts are the ones that get your attention and drive fear, worry or anxiety.

A way forward

Let me start by saying this requires patience and commitment. Rome wasn’t built in a day and to get to know yourself and be an even better leader will take time. For me, it’s always work in progress!

So, where do you start?

Start by listening.

Start by listening to yourself. Take some time out each day and stop. It may only be for five minutes, and it’s five minutes more than you’ve done before.

Notice the thoughts you are having. Notice the speed at which they come. Write them down. I find this helps you to review what you are saying to yourself. There may be a pattern there may not.

  • What does this reveal about how you perceive the world or a given situation?
  • Is this perception helpful?
  • How do you want to think differently about it?
  • What will you do to practice something new?

Make sure your decisions are about you and how you think and behave. The only person you can actually control is you.

The more you practice the easier this will become. You’ll find you start listening to yourself more easily and changing the way you think to be the great leader you were born to be.

If you find you are struggling with this feel free to give me a call or email me. I have a great tool that will help you understand those voices in your head.

“Greatness comes from our ability to open ourselves up”

Michael Neill

4 key elements of leadership presence

7th September 2016

Leadership Presence

As a leader you are on show all of the time.

People – your team, peers, stakeholders, and your boss are watching you and make decisions and assumptions about you based on what you do or don’t do.

Do you ever stop and think about this?

Do you take time out to consider how you show up and the impression you make?

My guess is rarely… you may do this for those important meetings, but hardly ever day to day for each interaction.

Now, you may be reading this thinking that’s impossible, or feeling overwhelmed just at the thought of it. However, it’s easier than you think. I’ve developed a simple 4 step model to enable you to show up as your best self each and every day!

Here is a quick over view for you to consider:

Step one of leadership presence: Physiology – How are you showing up as a leader?

“The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.”

John Dewey

How do you walk into a room or walk around the office?

How do you sit and present in meetings?

How would people describe you if they saw you? Always in a rush, laid back, fidgety, looks angry….

How you physically show up is important and is the first thing people ‘read’ when they meet you, so it’s worth taking some time to consider how you want to appear.

Step two of leadership presence: Purpose – What is your intention?

“Our intention creates our reality.”

Wayne Dwyer

In any interaction do you consider what your intention is?

When you are clear about why you are there – the purpose of the meeting, you will naturally focus on the topics that are most relevant to achieve this. You’ll avoid going down rabbit holes and notice when you and others are distracted.

It brings clarity and allows you to prepare more fully.

Your intention may be that you want a specific decision, just want to get someone’s point of view, build a relationship, agree how you are going to work together, develop a plan….. These are just some examples to get you thinking.

Step three of leadership presence: Present – where are you putting your attention?

“Amid this constant surge of information, attention has become our most precious asset.”

Jocelyn Glei

This can often be the biggest challenge and it requires you to be present, in this moment. Not thinking about your next meeting. Not reviewing what has just happened in a previous meeting or phone call. Not playing out in your head what you want to say, or listening to any other internal dialogue…

Simply being present with all your attention on the person in front of you.

Step four of leadership presence: Practice – what new habits are you trying to create?

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”


Your success in life is the sum of all of your habits and our habits are often out of conscious thought. They are well practiced and we do them without noticing.

By doing the previous three steps you will begin to notice some ‘old’ habits. Some will be useful. Some will not. The key is to keep practicing those habits that are useful and to create (practice) new habits to replace the unhelpful ‘old’ ones.

This really does take practice – a bit like learning to ride a bike. You may fall off a few times and as long as you keep getting up and having another go – you’ll master it!

Be your best self each and every day!


To get your copy of my free mini coaching series on this 4- step model click here





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