Friday 11 March 2022

What is your Signature Presence?

I had a fascinating conversation earlier this week with a number of colleagues, in which we were talking about the idea of a Signature Presence. This is that sense of who you leave behind with others, habitually, after an interaction.  I found this a really interesting notion, and more helpful that the idea of a 'personal brand' which people sometimes discuss. Maybe it's just me, but I think that the nuances of the two labels are different: personal brand sounds a bit marketing-y, and possibly inauthentic; whereas signature presence is how you show up, and is likely to be strongest when most authentic.

As we discussed this, I was interested to notice that my intuitive approach was from the inside out: who do I think I am, at my most authentic, and indeed who am I striving to become; and does that communicate well with others?  But others worked from the outside in: how do others typically perceive me, and what do I learn from that.  I am sure that both approaches are valuable - indeed necessary- but the instinctive starting point for different people intrigued me.  Am I a narcissist? Or are they over-dependent on others for validation? Or (more likely) neither of the above?  Or (I hope not) both of the above?

But it strikes me as worthy of reflection and consideration: who do you aspire to be? How do you want others to think and feel about you after interacting with you? What do you need to learn, develop, or indeed unlearn, to achieve that consistently and authentically?

And of course it reminded me of the old saying 'fake it til you make it;' which I think is a folk-wisdom way of summarising the wisdom on Aristotle on the virtues: the way to acquire a virtue (say bravery) is to behave as though you are brave at every opportunity.  If you do that consistently, you will acquire the habit of being brave - you will, in fact, become brave. 

And what do I aspire to? I hope that people experience me as committed to increasing understanding, increasing compassion, and helping people to fulfil their potential as human beings. 

You can let me know, if you like, whether that is how you read me...


With thanks to Ashley Piszek her photos on Unsplash

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