What does gravitas mean to you?

I’ve been through a really interesting process recently. When I say interesting of course what I really mean is the kind of experience that creates high levels of adrenaline to course through your body. Many of you will know that adrenaline creates a heightened sense of awareness, focus, and excitement, but it can also be translated to fear and anxiety.

On this occasion it was the former. I was participating at a development centre. Ironically, this is a pass time that I know quite a bit about given that I have designing them for teams and organisations that I work with for some time now. The prospect of being observed in different scenarios and real life situations is not for the faint-hearted. So, it was with some trepidation that I headed off to Warwick, and my cortisol levels were rising by the second.

The process itself was very educational; a good reminder of what I put people through. I came out a little flat (on my post-adrenaline-rush comedown), questioning the process, and thinking about next steps.

There was the tantalising promise of feedback; this would form part of my development irrespective of the outcome. I had the feedback session a couple of weeks ago now and the one element – there’s always one – that I am still contemplating relates primarily to gravitas. I’m quietly spoken and I’m often asked to ‘turn the volume up’. I’ve been working on this for years, but no matter what I do I still think and feel like I’m shouting. I thought it interesting to associate gravitas with volume and found myself looking for a definition to see what I really needed to pay attention too.

Here’s the OED definition:
Gravitas (noun) Dignity, solemnity and seriousness of manner.

I was left a little confused. I’d always thought gravitas linked to my volume and power of presence, but what did this definition have to do with either of those things? Now, I begun to pay a little more attention to my manner, and will continue to reflect on what this term ‘gravitas’ means to me and my work.

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