Character, Substance, and Style: Inspiring Others by Being Your Authentic Self

May 24, 2023 | 1000 Views

Character, Substance, and Style: Inspiring Others by Being Your Authentic Self

Felicia White, CHT, Doctoral Candidate

CHART President-Elect | Director, Franchise Training | Scooter's Coffee

A few months back, I was asked to deliver a training session on executive presence in preparation for a couple of upcoming corporate events. The purpose was to provide key reminders on appearance, networking, and even professionalism at events (especially where drinking might be involved).

Felicia White presenting at CHART 103 Seattle

Forbes defines executive presence as “your ability to inspire confidence — inspiring confidence in your subordinates that you’re the leader they want to follow, inspiring confidence among peers that you’re capable and reliable and, most importantly, inspiring confidence among senior leaders that you have the potential for great achievements.”

Felicia White at CHART 103 SeattleThe definition repeatedly uses the phrase “inspiring confidence,” but how can you do this if you are not being yourself? Confidence comes from trust which is rooted in authenticity. I believe executive presence is about more than how you dress, your body language, and communication (those are just the outward expressions). It is about being your authentic self; the BEST version of your authentic self.

As we enter Pride Month, I thought back on this presentation and the three key words I emphasized: Character, Substance, and Style.

When you take these three elements and put your best self forward, you are PROUDLY displaying executive presence. I always believe that when you are yourself in a situation (your best self), you give others permission to do the same.

Felicia White singing karaoke at CHART 103 Seattle

This Pride Month, I encourage you to think about WHO you might be holding back if YOU are holding back. If you are hiding, who by your example are you telling should hide as well? If you are not being yourself, who are you telling they cannot be themselves either? Be bold, be authentic, be PROUD, and most importantly be you…others are watching.

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Comments (1)

  1. Audrey Benet:
    Jun 01, 2023 at 03:45 PM

    Felicia - this is so beautifully stated. I learned a long time ago that incredible things happen when I am my true authentic self. At a time when I was scared of how life could be in that intersection of professional and queer, I was pleasantly surprised at the fact that I was accepted and appreciated when I was my true authentic self (for the most part). I think so much of that comes from what you pointed out - "confidence comes from trust which is rooted in authenticity". Eloquently said.

    Happy PRIDE everyone - not just in a rainbow way - in a PROUD to be YOU way!