By Kim Lowe, Simple Intentions Managing Editor
Let’s start with the conviction that presence is one of our superpowers. That all of us have within us the natural talent to engage with other humans in meaningful ways that spark creativity and connection, and lead to innovative ideas and exciting new products, not to mention feelings of wholeness and contentment.
Is it time to create new awareness and revive our superpower of presence? Is our current state of multi-distractions and multi-tasking the kryptonite to our natural and crucial strength of presence? Are we losing our ability to stop, think, see, and listen, the cornerstones of presence?
What is a superpower? We’re not talking about a super-human capacity of unlimited flight, telescopic vision or strength more powerful than a locomotive. We’re talking about the unique strengths within each of us that energize, motivate and drive our success. Superpower is often thought of as an equation:
Talent x Investment = Superpower
Talent consists of your innate and natural gifts. Perhaps you have a flair for writing, singing or public speaking. These things come naturally and effortlessly to you, and doing them gives you energy. Do you know your innate talents? Often they are so easy for us, we don’t recognize them ourselves. It’s just something we do, with little self-acknowledgment. Raw talent is more easily seen by those around us. Just ask a friend or colleague what they see as your natural talent. They’ll know.
But raw talent without some investment does not make a superpower. It needs a supply of knowledge and skill to build into a superpower. Good writers become great writers by learning grammar, studying other writers and writing. Public speakers only captivate us after hours of practice, refinement and more practice. Fortunately, the energy and passion of our raw talent sustains the effort of building a superpower.
What about this superpower of presence? As humans, connecting and engaging with others is a core talent. It’s something we crave as much as possess. We’ve spent a lifetime nurturing and strengthening that talent, building a network of family, friends, teachers, and colleagues. We are superpowerfully able to look someone in the eye and see their emotion. We are superpowerfully able to hear excitement or sadness in someone’s words – even when those words don’t include “excited” or “sad”. We are superpowerfully able to pause, observe and appreciate our environments, however chaotic they may be.
Each time we fail to stop, see and listen, our superpower of presence diminishes just a little, and all the distractions of the world – deadlines, emails, texts – crowd into our superpower space.
Just like they do for the superheroes in Hollywood, is it time to revive our superpower of presence? Can we again recognize the unique talent in all of us to connect, and build upon that gift by investing in our relationships, not only with others, but also with ourselves?
What is one thing we can do today to strengthen our superpower of presence? Can we practice seeing the details of our environments? Can we notice the number of devices we use at the same time? Can we slow down a conversation to hear what’s being said and what’s not being said?
With presence, we’re all superheroes.