Increase Your Executive Presence

When you feel like you need to increase your Executive Presence, you can learn these five basic methods I teach in my coaching practice. Many of you don’t seem to be all that present these days, even if we’re in the room. You take your phone out as soon as you get on the train. You skim through your emails and see that you forgot to save the legal document before you attached it. Your colleague across the ocean is confused. After three emails, you’re able to clear up the confusion. You apologize. You know you must come across as being stressed out. Even though you know that you have dealt with higher stress levels in your life, there is an insistent voice inside your head that screams “I need a holiday”. You wonder how this happened, as your last holiday was only four weeks ago. You ask yourself: Could the issue be deeper? Is something wrong with me? Do I need therapy?

Then you think of all the bullshit that you need to handle every day in your job. It’s not the job itself. You love your work. It’s not the team. You have shared your vision, mission, brand, and values with your team. They follow you eagerly because they see a brighter future with you.

Presence, Politics, Puberty and Pain

Your team buys into your cause and wants you to succeed, but the politics in the management team have become unbearable. The blame-storm that follows every client-related issue and the loss of ground with your big clients have made you look bad. You are concerned about losing your job, not performing well and not delivering what you promised to deliver. Your wife looks to you for support with the children. Your daughter has been difficult lately. She needs your guidance. You want to support her, but you feel drained in every aspect of your life.

You had taken up a hobby about a year ago because a friend advised you to do “something for yourself”. In the beginning, you were thrilled about the new friends you made as a result, but now it just feels like another obligation, another item on your list of never-ending tasks. You snap when friends ask you if you want to go out for a beer and your mother’s voice is in your head: “You said you would come for a visit with the children on Sunday.” And the mortgage on the house needs to be refinanced.

In short: You feel the weight of the responsibility of being the provider. You feel that weight on your shoulders and your back. You identify with it through the pain.


Pain Means Stress Is Written All over Your Body

Many of us have stress written all over our bodies. Even though you will find a lot of methods for reducing stress when you look online, many of us today have issues with focusing. There are too many distractions that pull us in different directions every minute. We also have too many “shoulds”. We should go to the gym more often, we should recycle the bottles, we should save money. Our mind spends a lot of time thinking about the “shoulds”.


1 –  Take one hour out of your busy schedule and consult a coach

Sometimes, we feel like we have tried everything possible to please everyone else but lost ourselves. In such situations, it helps to consult a coach. Sometimes, you might even need therapy, but in most cases, an experienced coach should be able to help you through this feeling of crisis. I am a fan of prevention and know we can improve our physical symptoms if we seek support early enough. Unfortunately, in my experience, many managers look for external support when it is too late, as they are stuck in the idea of playing the superhero.


2 – Practice light exercise, such as a daily walk outside

If you feel stressed out but still in control, it can help to prescribe yourself a daily dose of light exercise, such as a 20-minute walk. I wrote about getting healthy in this post about my favorite productivity hacks ( Be sure you don’t distract yourself with your phone when you go for a walk. Build the walk into a routine such as your work commute or coffee runs in the morning. Getting exposure to natural light and fresh air is helpful in most countries. If you do not live in Switzerland, you might need to adjust this based on the weather conditions. For example, if you live in Islamabad, you might need to take your walk early in the morning. In Iceland, the middle of the day would probably be ideal.

3 – Clean up your workspace every day and mono-task

It sounds simple, but it’s a well-known ZEN practice. You can get rid of the constant distractions by developing a regular routine of cleaning up and only working on one thing at a time. Your stream of information needs to be directed to the right channel. For example: If you think “I should file my documents”, do it the same day. Before you rush home, spend five minutes cleaning up your desk every evening. Throw away everything that you don’t need. Before you start your workday, write down your top three priorities for the day.

4 – Learn to relax through active meditation

For a global leader, one of the hardest things to do is relax. You will often need a reason, instructions or a drug to do so. Or you might need to do excessive physical activity before you can relax. Even if you relax during a massage, for example, your mind still wanders and you have a lot of ideas or you mentally work on your next task list. Since it’s so difficult for global leaders to clear their head, I advise them to combine relaxation with an activity they truly enjoy. It could be learning to play the piano, building Lego spaceships, renovating old furniture or fly fishing. You could also find an activity that you enjoy doing with a partner, buddy or good friend. It’s important that this activity be done regularly (at least once a week), that you can keep it up while traveling and that you stick to it religiously. We categorize these types of activities as “body learning”, so you can use them in your weekly targets or in your body learning target.

5 – Use an App to Learn a Habit

You can work with a number of different apps to learn to build a habit. Usama Hafeez and I have developed the RockMeApp and I also recommend a lot of apps in the Global Rockstar Album. I know that real change is hard (trying to lose weight at the moment and trying to build more upper body strength.). It is possible if you have an accountability partner and tracking your progress will probably help an over-achiever like you.


The Global Rockstar Album

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