The 5th Pillar of Personal Development for Change Agents: Positive Presence

Uncategorized Aug 10, 2021

For many of us the single biggest factor in our sense of joy and fulfillment in life has to do with the quality of our relationships and interactions with other people.  Elevating the quality of your own positive presence is the single biggest thing you can to do transform the quality of your relationships with others.  That's why positive presence is the 5th pillar of personal development in this series. 

Positive Presence= Attentive + Empathetic + Resourceful

 Positive presence is about being in a state of mind in which you can be attentive, empathetic and resourceful, all at the same time. This kind of positive presence with others and with ourselves is an essential pillar of personal development for all of us who feel a calling to make the world a better place. 


Three Key Tools for Elevating Your Positive Presence

The video and the accompanying worksheet lay out three key tools for elevating your presence and transforming the quality of your interactions with others.

1. Patching Your Psychological Potholes

Sometimes all of us do things in the moment that we later regret.  This is part of being human—we all make mistakes.  And yet many of us keep falling into the same psychological potholes over and over again following a well-established pattern: every time a predictable external event occurs it triggers us into a snap reaction that we later regret because it does damage to ourselves and to others.  Let’s call this the Reaction/Regret Cycle.  Making mistakes may be inevitable, but getting stuck in a cycle like this is not.  The good news is that not only can we can break this cycle, we can actually condition ourselves to replace that snap reaction with a more thoughtful action that better serves us—creating an Action/Alignment Cycle where our actions fully support our values and express our highest and best selves.  Download the worksheet to walk yourself through the key steps of this process—understanding where your immediate reaction is coming from, appreciating how there are actually positive intentions behind it, and helping you identify an alternative course of action to take moving forward.

2. Step up Your Deep Listening

This is about bringing genuine interest and empathetic connection to others whenever you can. Deep listening matters so much because it speaks to one of the human heart’s deepest desires: to be fully heard, and seen for who we really are.  It is all too rare.  You can do much to deepen your own listening by bringing this intention into your interactions with others.

Deep listening is the kind of listening that: 

  • Is rooted in genuine curiosity
  • Seeks understanding
  • Steps outside your own psychology
  • Opens you up to being moved
  • Asks nothing in return—it is a gift, not a transaction

Check out the video and download the worksheet to learn more about stepping up your listening practice.

3. Powerful Conversations

Powerful conversations build on your practice of deep listening and take your connection with someone else to the next level. A powerful conversation can take many different forms, but at its heart, it is about discovering each other’s perspective and passions and looking around your own world for whatever ways you can find to help the other person move forward.

Here are 2 fundamental rules for a powerful conversation:

  1. Your orientation is to serve the the other person, and  to discover the larger whole of which  you are both a part.  You do this exercising your practice of deep listening, and by looking around in your own world for whatever can best help the other person move forward in pursuit of their own  fullest self and extraordinary calling.
  2. Even though your focus is not on getting something for yourself, part of what makes the conversation powerful is that you don’t neglect to share what you are most passionately pursuing, and whatever is most challenging for you in pursuit of this calling.  This step is vital for opening up to the fullest possibilities of advancing what is bigger than both of you—and it is this mutual sharing that gives the conversation its deepest power.  

Here are two straightforward questions that you can both ask and answer to bring your fullest positive presence to a conversation and make it as powerful as it can be: 

  1. What would make the next year [day/week/month] extraordinary for you?
  2. What is the single biggest challenge standing between you and that extraordinary future

How many powerful conversations can you have in the next month?  When you show up this way, with such a powerful and genuine positive presence seeking to help others find the way to what’s extraordinary for them, the ultimate returns to you and the world as a whole might well be beyond your imagining. 



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These are the same materials we use with the social entrepreneurs in our accelerator program and the funders we coach one on one.  The world has never been more in need of a new, greatest generation of change agents and that's why we're opening up free access to these materials to anyone who's ready to make use of them!