Presence Point: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall . . .

Close your eyes. Recall a time you were in the presence of someone who affected, moved or inspired you a positive way.  You were aware of the impact that this person’s presence or confidence had on those around them. They created a sense of connection. This person touched your heart and mind. You may have been in conversation with them, in a meeting with them, or at a presentation or speech being given by them - in person, televised, or recorded. What was the situation? What did you notice about this person? What were they doing or not doing? What was it about them that affected, moved, or inspired you? What were you feeling? What kind of an effective they have on you and others?

Take a deep breath. Name those qualities and traits that stood out to you.

Close your eyes again. Now remember a time that you knew you were creating an impact in a conversation, in a meeting, or presentation. You knew you were connecting to your audience. You were confident.. It may have felt quiet and grounded. It may have felt exhilarating and powerful. It felt like you at your best. What was the situation? What made this particular time memorable? What did it feel like? What did you notice about your audience?

Take another deep breath. Name those qualities and traits that stood out to you.

Compare the 2 lists. Any overlap?  If you are like most people you will see a strong resemblance between the person you are inspired by and the time you knew you were at your best. Even if you don’t immediately see where you are alike, those traits are there and available to you if you call on them.

What I have seen in my experience with hundreds of clients, is that the person whose presence we admire is a mirror for us, and actually provides us a with presence point – a point of access to our own powerful presence, poise and confidence.

We recognize and identify with the characteristics of the person that we chose because we actually contain those characteristics and traits ourselves. We may not be manifesting them on a regular basis, but if we asked other people for feedback they may actually give us the same feedback that we gave the person who inspired us.

This exercise is a regular part of my Platinum Presence® workshop. How does it work? It’s actually quite simple:

  • One participant, Pete, spoke about the traits of a favorite teacher who had been highly instrumental in his life. As he spoke it was immediately evident to everyone else sitting in the room that Pete was a natural gifted teacher, but had never thought of himself in that way. Once he identified with “teacher” he was able to leverage that as an identify metaphor, and he “showed up” with ease and confidence as the naturally gifted teacher he was rather feeling like he had to be a performer.
  • Another participant, a very accomplished woman, frustrated at often feeling invisible and overpowered in a heavily male-dominated environment, told us how she admired Geena Davis in her television role as the “Commander in Chief.”  When she compared her two lists, it was clearly obvious that they shared many traits. A simple trigger phrase: “Assume the position” actually gave her the confidence, and power, to hold her ground with equal footing at work.
  • Erica described two different people, Lindsey who has a calm, grounded presence and her grandmother, an opinionated, sassy, unconventional storyteller with a rather “crazy” energy. Watch here as she embodies both of them as she tells her own story.

The next time you find yourself feeling less than confident in your ability to have an impact, close your eyes, take a deep breath and picture your inspirational person. What would s/he do right now?

Assume the position!

Image credit: Eirik Newth

About Cheryl Dolan

Cheryl Dolan is a specialist in Presence, Communication and Creativity. Her mission is to cultivate clients’ innate strengths to develop the powerful communication and creative skills that will enhance personal and professional performance. Her Platinum Presence® Program has been delivered in international corporations, organizations, and institutes of higher education, including Harvard University and MIT Sloan School. Contact her at [email protected] or visit