designing something requires
focus.
the first thing we ask is
what do we want people to feel?
delight
surprise
love
connection
then we begin to craft around our intention
it takes time.
there are a thousand no’s
for every yes.
we simplify
we perfect
we start over
until everything we touch
enhances each life
it touches.
only then do we sign our work.

—Opening Video, Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference
June 10, 2013

One of the best questions anyone ever asked me when I was talking about an upcoming lecture, workshop, article, or book, is: What do you want the audience to feel?

That same person reminded me that, while people may initially come to the event or read the book because they are interested in the topic, their first take-away will be the experience they had of being with you.

His words rang true to me. Our human energy system first processes experiences as feelings. Those feelings register in the body, whether or not we are consciously aware of them at the time. Thoughts come later.

As an example, take a moment to reflect on an experience you had yesterday. What is the first thing you remember?

Going a little deeper, what made that particular experience come to your awareness first? Chances are it was because of how that experience made you feel.

While visiting Apple’s website, I came across a video of the opening session of the 2013 Worldwide Developer’s Conference. Timothy Cook, Apple’s CEO, began his opening keynote with a short video that included the above quote. Watching it made me smile. It was inspiring and exciting. It was very simple, yet it touched something inside of me right away. It drew me in because it felt like truth. It resonated with what I believe and what I know of the creative process. In fact, I did feel delight and connection.

So I came back to that question for my work. “How do I want people to feel?” Yet right away I was taken beyond my work. I realized it was really a “life” question, not just a “work” question.

While it certainly is an important consideration when writing or designing workshops and presentations, perhaps the real invitation is to take that question into all aspects of my life. How we are in life is how we are going to be in our work. Our habitual ways of engaging with others spill over into our leadership and work every day.

So what if we asked that question with every encounter, whether with family or friends, clients or workshop participants, or people we were meeting for the first time? What difference might that make in our professional or “public” lives?

Design and emotional connection is everything with Apple. These two things are at the top of their focus. The more focused Apple’s teams are, the better the result in their products. We, too, are designers. We are constantly designing our lives, our leadership, our service. The more conscious and focused we are in our intention as we engage with others, the better the result in our leadership, our service, our relationships. Transformational Presence is about creating the optimal conditions through which the greatest potential can unfold. “Optimal conditions” include how people feel in your presence.

It’s easy to feel the passion and commitment in Apple’s statement above. If you were to craft a similar statement about your passion and commitment – a statement of what drives your work in the world – what would it say? Apple says,

it takes time.
there are a thousand no’s
for every yes.
we simplify
we perfect
we start over
until everything we touch
enhances each life
it touches.
only then do we sign our work.

Who must you be and what standard must you meet before you will “sign your work?”

 

P.S. If personal presence and the impact you have on others is something you would like to give more attention to, The Power of Your Presencemight be a good place to start. It’s a meditation in a book, designed to take about 20 minutes. This little book can give you focus and help you center while waiting for an appointment or riding the train to work, or serve as a structure for your quiet and reflective time. It is also available as an mp3 audio book.

 

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