I'm a social scientist who helps people break out of the invisible traps and make whole-life changes easily and naturally.
What is the one superpower every great leader has in common?
I remember first learning about this concept in 7th grade. It felt very obtuse and elusive.
How in the world do I make myself be more present in class? I just didn’t get it – it felt hard.
I was constantly distracted. Distractions coming in from all directions in my external and my internal world.
But, as I’ve developed as a Conscious Leader, I’ve noticed over and over again this stuff is not rattling me. I’m flowing with it. I’m actually enjoying it – feeling alive and leaning into the opportunities.
Presence is one of the foundations of Conscious Leadership.
Now at this point it may feel like such a cliche. Sick of seeing a million meme’s about presence on Instagram? (there might be some on my feed this week 😉 )
I get it. But here’s the thing… presence isn’t just about sitting on a cushion and meditating. Investing in your own presence is an act of revolutionary self-awareness that can positively impact every part of your life.
An intentional, conscious life begins with presence. It’s available to you at every single moment.
You may be thinking to yourself…. “Caneel, I’m sure presence is an amazing state to be in, but I have 2 kids under age 5 screaming in the backseat, and an important meeting in an hour, and I really don’t think I can be present right now.”
You can be the person that when you walk into a room, everything changes. And YOU can choose what the change looks like.
Have you ever had the experience of going to a rock concert or an art museum or a party with close friends, witnessing the birth of a child, being there at the passing of a life, or a moment when somebody is saved, and experiencing g feeling of there’s nothing else that matters but what is here right now?
That is aliveness. And it’s exactly the same thing as presence, where you don’t have a judgment about what’s here now.
Have you been making up a story you don’t deserve to have presence? A lot of the time presence is considered a lower priority because you believe business or a certain meeting is more important.
But a lack of presence is a lack of aliveness. A lack of presence is a lack of power.
Presence is available to you 100% of the time, always. You don’t need a poofy cushion and yoga pants unless that’s your vibe. There are a ton of ways to be present.
Don’t know where to start? Here are 9 quick ways to regain presence
1. Appreciating someone
You can appreciate someone by focusing on someone and asking yourself what can you appreciate about them and what do they bring to your life to enable your growth.
The application of appreciation can bring you into present reality. It requires you take a moment to acknowledge what is here now.
It can be difficult, but taking the extra step to appreciate someone who may be more challenging for you to appreciate can often shift your mindset from one that is below the line, to an empowered stance. When you accept everything that happens to you is for your own growth and benefit, you can find the capacity to appreciate even the challenging relationships in your life.
2. Appreciate something around you
This is one of the simplest ways to achieve presence. All you need to do is apply your attention to any single thing around you. Find 10 things to appreciate about the item. It may sound like a lot, but it’s easier than you think. Use your creativity and find some gratitude for that object.
By requiring focus, this exercise brings you to presence reliably. It’s difficult to think about your agenda for tomorrow when you are finding 10 ways to appreciate your armchair, and that’s the point.
Take the moment to be here, now.
Take control of what you can control and activate the powerful, life-giving, autonomic functions your body already has inside of it. Breathing naturally grounds you and brings you mental clarity.
Try the four-part breath release. Four seconds inhale. Hold your breath for four seconds. Then breathe out for four. Repeat four times
4. Meditate consciously
In conscious meditation, you’re not trying to tune anything out. You’re not trying to tune out your thoughts. You’re not trying to tune out your feelings. You’re not trying to tune out any external noises.
In fact, you are welcoming all of them. You’re saying, I’m going to be with what is here now for as long as it’s here now. And I’m not going to hold onto it, I’m going to let it go. And I’m even going to be conscious about when I do hold onto it.
5. Get curious
Find any topic to get curious about. Get curious on purpose about a person, or a topic. It doesn’t need to be a big research project. Practice asking open, honest questions about the topic.
Just trying to find a question is a presencing exercise. Don’t judge yourself for how many questions you can come up with. The point is, can you get curious about anything?
6. Drastically change your posture
Tuning into your body is a fast, simple way to regain presence. Focusing on your physicality and body sensations and shifting consciously brings you into the here and now. It engages your senses and invites you to live in a fact-based moment.
You can stand up, walk around. Uncross your hands or feet. Look up instead of down. Shift your body and tune into yourself and your environment.
7. Walk in the grass
State shifting, like going from dry land into water, indoors to outdoors, warmth to cold, is a quick and reliable way to achieve presence.
Applying your bare feet to the ground helps to discharge energy that has been building up inside of you, especially energy from the world around you, and friction you’re holding onto. Spending time outside will help you get back into flow and connect into and out of the earth.
When you are zeroed in on how your body reacts to your environment, you can achieve a unique state of presence to integrate your inner and outer realities.
8. Speak Unarguably
When you are out of presence, you get really wrapped up in your own stories, your theories, what you think, your interpretations, what’s going to happen, and what things mean.
But when you are in presence, you are attending to facts.
To speak unarguably is to be able to distinguish between a fact and a story, and communicate in the language of facts.
This form of communication helps focus your mind and body on what is true now, in the present moment.
9. Exaggerate your current attitude
In this exercise, even when you don’t want to feel like how you’re feeling, you are going to express and embody your feeling in an even bigger, more dramatic way.
Feeling angry? Throw yourself on the ground and have a toddler-level temper tantrum.
This brings you to presence because it is ALLOWING what is here now to be here. You aren’t trying to squash, deny, or “should” your way out of your current state. Experience it, and then you can let it go if that’s what you want.
Presence is Conscious Leadership
Your inner work affects your outer world. Presence is the difference between approaching your life as something happening to you versus something happening by you.
When life is happening by you, you feel alive. You recognize you have agency, you have creativity, and you have power.
What could be more freeing than that?
About this episode:
Let’s activate your superpower and create a life you love to lead by using the practice of presence. Bringing your focus inward is the paradigm shift in leadership development and personal growth.
Think of this episode as Conscious Leadership 101- a quick and fundamental guide to the power of presence. Start back at the basics and learn what presence is and its wide array of uses. You can use presence to reduce anxiety, gain clarity, improve focus and productivity, and more.
Learn how to use a variety of simple ways to help you return to mindfulness when you find yourself straying from presence. Throughout this coaching session, you will discover why presence is essential to conscious leadership, then explore the personal and professional benefits of living a mindful life.
Allowed Insider’s bonus:
When you join Allowed Insider you receive a bonus exercise in your inbox diving further into practicing and understanding the concept of the episode. Join here!
Experience the power of presence, and join Caneel for this heavily-researched grounding 5-4-3-2-1 meditation that uses your current sensory reality to regulate your nervous system.
When you are having anxiety or panic attacks, or an especially tough day, grounding techniques act as a lifeline. This exclusive Allowed Insider bonus content is a powerful tool that can bring you to a powerful state of presence in just a little over 3 minutes.