Do you think charisma is a learned trait or do you think that people just have it? By charisma I mean positive energy and genuine charisma that engages people. Is this a learned trait? It is!
Charisma is about using energy in a productive positive way to engage with the world, to engage with other people. Patsy Rodenburg wrote a book called The Second Circle in which she talked about how she has coached actors, and many other people, by using their body and their presence. One of the things she talked about is that when we are overly focused and trying to dazzle everyone we are not really present. We are basically sucking the life out of other people. We may appear confident at first but after a while it drains people. When we are shy, reserved, and held back, observing everything and not speaking up so people can hear us, we are in our brains which is not fully present either. Full presence is when we are engaged. We’re not in our brain. We are not trying to be big. We are here and now.
One of the ways to be present is through breath. Breathe the space that you want to encompass. When you are talking with another person, you would breathe them in, or breathe in the room that you are occupying. If you take too big a breath you are out of yourself and in their face, and too little breath and you are not occupying your space and no one will pay any attention to you. No one will take you seriously. However, you can stand right in the middle of those two. Focus on what you are doing. Focus on who you are talking to, rather than what you’re going to make for dinner that night. This is what Patsy Rodenburg calls second circle. It is also called presence.
Be present, right now. When you are present right now you do not need drugs or other crutches to cope. Drugs especially bring you out of your presence. They make you out of control and into your brain. You are not able to sensitively feel things and you can become delusional. When you are fully engaged – upright, breathing well, confident (not overly confident and not underly confident) – you are present. This is how you use positive energy to create good relationships and a good life.
Heather Hans, LCSW, MSW, MBA, CPIC, is a Visionary, Healer & Teacher, and the author of The Heart of Self-Love: How to Radiate with Confidence. It is Heather's firm belief that loving oneself is necessary to have fulfilling relationships and a successful life.