Want to Be Irresistable? Be Authentic

authenticity confience presence

The email exercise that went out last week was on the idea of developing your unique presence, that intangible quality that makes someone irresistible and inspiring.

The question ultimately comes down to whether you are engaged in the moment--are you present?--or whether you spend most of your time in your head, worrying, speculating, and second-guessing yourself.

If you do the latter, you can experience life fully and live in HD. You hold the key to happiness. It's not wonder we are drawn to people with a strong presence.

If you want to command respect and inspire excellence, presence is essential.

But what is it?

Presence goes by a lot of names: moxie, charisma, sass, intensity, fire, confidence, authenticity. But whatever you call it, you know when you see it.

And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

The Many Forms that Presence Takes

Often, we think of presence as loud, bright, and in-your-face. The woman in the red dress or the man in the power suit is the stereotypical icon of a person with presence. They command the room.

The woman I mention in the newsletter had this kind of presence. She is what I call a firecracker: full of energy, passion, super-interested in what you have to say, and totally engaged. Life for her is full of opportunities to make people happy.

But there are other kinds of presence. I have another friend, much younger and still navigating the complexities of being in her twenties, who isn't quite so loud about her authenticity.

But, everyone who had ever met her has fallen in love with her tenderness, her open and honest intellect, and her painfully sincere desire to do good in the world. She comes across as truly authentic and unapologetic about her values, her interests, and her particular way of seeing the world. She inspires everyone she touches.

Much quieter, but no less of an impact.

She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white
Makes you feel warmer when you're trying to remember
What you heard
She likes to leave you hanging on her word

So, what unites these two people?


They express their interests without restraint, without trying to accommodate anyone.

Granted, it's possible for someone with bad character to be authentic and magnetic (Hitler comes to mind), so there's a lot more than authenticity that goes into the kind of presence you want to cultivate.

But these two examples show that there are as many kinds of powerful presence as there are people, and a big part of expressing that comes from seeing the value in themselves. They don't apologize for who they are.

And we love them for it.

And she's taller than most
And she's looking at me
I can see her eyes looking from the page of a magazine
She makes me feel like I could be a tower

Suddenly I see
This is what I wanna be

- KT Tunstall, Suddenly I See

What kind of presence do you have? Quiet confidence or life of the party? There are as many options as people. Or are you still working on expressing your presence?

Photo credit: Gemma Stiles on Flickr