How do you show up?
At my recent new branding photoshoot, the experience with the photographer (Louise Williams) was nothing at all what I expected. Of course, we discussed what it was that I wanted to achieve, the direction of my brand, my audience, and what type of images might support that. Then when we had an idea of the direction, I took up my spot in front of the camera. That’s when it changed.
Instead of suggesting how I should stand, hold my arms, turn my head, pose this way, look like this… she left it to me.
To show up.
And for over six hours (with a stop to refuel), that’s what I did.
I allowed myself to feel vulnerable, to play, to laugh, to sing (yes, I did), to be a Diva, a Leader, and to channel my wisdom through the spoken word as a Seasoned Voice.
Not only did my photographer trust me to show up, I trusted me to show up.
Now you might think – well, that’s okay for you. You’re an actress, you’ve been on the stage, heck you’ve even directed people on camera – so of course, you know how to behave in front of the camera.
And yes, you’d be right in thinking that. I DO know how to behave in front of a camera.
But I didn’t behave.
I did the opposite. The unexpected. I channelled my knowledge, wisdom, experience and the essence of who I am, and then let it loose.
What I did was BE. Such a simple word, with the weight of my entire psyche wrapped up in it.
Let the depths of your experience and your light shine so there is absolutely
Giving yourself the gift of your presence, allowing yourself to simply BE, letting the depths of your experience and your light shine so that there is absolutely NO DOUBT about who you are, or what you represent. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Yet time and again, I’m asked – how do you create presence? How do you bring forth such light, life and power?
Presence is an inside job.
In my book “Every.Day.Presence” (2015) I write about presence as “the art of being visible”.
“Presence is a deep relaxation into self, so that one’s essence becomes visible. Presence, however, is not a skill you develop. It is not a layer you add. Rather it is a taking away of what no longer serves you, of what is holding you back from your life and your ability to engage authentically.
Presence comes from within, a deep knowledge of who you are.
It is a certainty, an embracing of all that you are and can be. It is about Being all that you can BE, your gifts, your talents and abilities and your unique voice.
Presence is the art of being visible.”
And that’s the key – being visible. Or should I say, being WILLING to be visible.
As an older woman in business, who is not planning on retiring any time soon, it is essential that I not only embrace but actively advocate for my visibility. That I own my power, my potency and my unique presence.
And that means showing up. Whether it's for a coffee meeting, a keynote or a photoshoot, it is vital that I bring my full self - my presence - to everything I do.
In her seminal book "Presence", Patsy Rodenburg OBE, Director of Voice at London's Royal National Theatre and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and recognised as one of the world's leading voice and acting coaches, says "Presence is the energy that comes from you and connects you to the outside world...It is when you are fully present that you do your best work and make your deepest impression."
This is the magnitude of the invitation I extend to you now. When you are fully present, you create the energy of invitation - an invitation to connect and engage with you. "The deepest impression."
It takes courage to show up, regardless of age and experience. It takes courage and vulnerability to allow yourself to be seen. That courage and vulnerability comes from a deep well-spring of self-belief and authenticity. THAT is presence.
Are you ready to embrace the power of your authentic presence?
Last week, on LinkedIn, I shared a post and a photo from the photoshoot mentioned above (you can find it here.)
It is the photo at the head of this article. Untouched. No photoshop. No erasing of a single wrinkle. This post has generated 12,000 views to date (and climbing) and numerous comments... of support, encouragement and an acknowledgement of the power and potency of my authentic presence.
This commentary gives me hope. It tells me that there is a paradigm shift in the way older women are perceived. No longer side-lined or invisible, but as women of wisdom, experience, strength, courage, resilience, power and potency.
Women of presence.
©Simone de Haas | 17 March 2022