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Published:February 6th, 2010 11:28 EST

Being Afraid of Your Own Shadow

By Simon Bailey (Mentor/Columnist)

Have you ever known someone who was afraid of his or her own shadow "book smart, but uneducated in the ways of business; a hard worker, but continually passed over for promotions; always present, but rarely noticed? These people submit to the energy of the people and situations around them and never discover their true identity.

On the other hand, do you know people with average looks and average skills from average backgrounds who possesses the it " factor? They walk into a room and instantly light it up. They make releasing their brilliance look easy. Good things constantly happen to them, and they seem to always land on their feet. Why are they special? What makes them different?

Well, my friends, these people have a personal aura " that supersedes what you see on the outside. The word aura, which is of Latin origin and first appeared in the 1300s, means gentle breeze or breath of air. In the 1800s, the definition expanded to mean emanation or atmosphere.

In this sense, your "aura" is your signature presence. It`s what distinguishes you from everyone else. When you tap into and release your authentic self, you become a breath of fresh air. You breathe vibrant life and energy into everyone you meet and everything you put your hands to. You have the power to literally change the atmosphere around you.

Let me ground this concept in reality for you with the some examples.

  • In less than ten years, Reese Witherspoon (one of my favorite actresses) went from playing the lead in a movie called Legally Blonde to winning an Oscar for portraying the legendary June Cash in Walk the Line. For her next starring role, she`ll earn more than $25 million. What is it about Reese that allowed her to create such success so quickly? In addition to her obvious acting skills, she has the it " factor. She is genuinely authentic and has mastered the art of breathing life into any role she chooses to pursue.

  • Will Smith has seen tremendous success as an actor since his days as the Fresh Prince, including earning critical praise for his portrayal of boxing great Muhammad Ali. And yet, some tried to discourage him from taking the lead role in the 2005 movie Hitch because it was perceived as only an average movie. Nevertheless, the always-vibrant Smith ignored them and moved ahead with the project. At last count, Hitch has grossed over $400 million dollars. Will Smith discovered his unique signature presence and leveraged it to change the way the world perceived him.

I am sure you`re saying, But those are movie stars. " Yes, they are. They are actors who perhaps once were considered average, but who took ordinary roles, breathed life into them and created something extraordinary. That`s why everyone still talks about them.

But having a personal aura is not a privilege reserved for the famous. All around you are people who possess a signature presence. Think about it: Weren`t there kids in high school or college who always stood out, who had that special something? And aren`t these the same individuals that everyone else asks about at reunions? These people had a personal aura even back then that caused others to want to be around them.

Those who have the it " factor are not merely lucky. They purposefully use their signature presence to transcend their past, BE in the present moment and create the future they desire. They have nurtured the ability to share and articulate concepts in such a way that they can bend the world towards their perspective. As a result, others are often more than willing to follow them.

How about you? Do you think there is an aura about you? Do you transform the environment with your signature presence? (Always remember that there is a distinct difference between having a presence and having an ego.) Do you breathe life into those you meet and add value to everything you touch with your style, your uniqueness?

In his exceptional book Nobodies to Somebodies, Peter Han says, People need to run toward themselves, not away. " Are you running towards yourself in all that you think, do, say and believe? You`ve often heard me say that everything you need to succeed is inside of you. In fact, this is one of the core principles that I teach. And so it is with your signature presence. If you can`t get to the place where you know beyond all knowing that you are special, that there is something unique about you, that you light up the world like no one else can, then you will forever wallow in self-defeatism. If I could spend just one day with you, your behaviors and actions would tell me whether you are your biggest fan.

I challenge you today to become a breath of fresh air to the world around you by immersing yourself in the following:

  • Discover your personal aura, your signature presence. Every morning as you prepare for your day, say aloud seven times, Everyday in every way, I am getting better and better. " Watch what happens inside of you and around you.

  • Explore ways to change the atmosphere around you. Start with some simple steps: be positive and self-confident, smile, state your name, give a compliment. (I do hope you gave someone a compliment today.) When you walk into a room, own " it. Enliven every place you go with a warm hello, a sincere thank you and an authentic goodbye.

  • Examine your partnering skills and look for ways to collaborate. If someone asks you for help, do you give of yourself with joy and an engaging spirit, or do you say that your plate is full? How do you want others to respond when you ask for assistance? The law of reciprocity is powerful. Use it.

  • Increase the thermostat of your thinking. Search for all the options, explore all the possibilities. Focus on what you can do instead of what you can`t do. If you never expand your thoughts, you will never amplify and multiply your expectations. Learn how to synergistically connect the different rooms of your soul to master the present and create the future.

You exist right now to be a breath of fresh air in this world. In everything that you do, ask yourself, Am I breathing life and positive energy into this job, this relationship, this marriage, this assignment, this project, this person that is in front of me? "

Simon Says "Discover your signature presence and let your brilliant aura shine!

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