The Vital Elements of Sustainable Leadership Development
The body reveals the truth of how we are feeling and thinking: a tentative walk toward a meeting, speaking with a shaky voice, a sharp response to another, a fast beating heart, or sweaty palms.
Our culture tends to believe this Mind and Body relationship begins in the mind. However, the mind often lies. We can help you understand and use the body and the mind together to make you a better leader than you imagine possible: in the workplace, the home, the community, or the world.
It simply requires a few ingredients: a Commitment, a little Wisdom, and Community.
The Body Reveals
Our bodies evolved to respond to the world. The body takes in information through the sensory/motor nervous system and brain, and then takes action. This action is often automatic and reactive, based on the lens through which you see the world. It is true for you, but it may be misinformed.
The mind can hold – and keep replaying – an automatic story, a pattern of thought, that no longer serves you. You may be unaware of that story, because it is pervasive in everything you do. It is like a lens, developed over your lifetime, that colors how you perceive and respond to the world.
Learning the language of your body is like having the lens cleaned, and seeing clearly for the first time. You notice your automatic, bodily responses, thoughts and words, and whether they serve the situation. You begin to practice choosing, instead of reacting.
Progress begins with a solid commitment to your growth and development. It opens a path to your potential.
A commitment defines an aspirational state of being, action, or behavior you are currently not able to embody. The commitment must be one that “stretches” you enough to be compelling and exciting, but not too much that it overwhelms you before you begin.
When you state this commitment, the body tells you if it is “stretchy” through its response. If you feel uncomfortable, or find yourself verbalizing an emotion such as anger (“that is stupid”), fear (“I could never do that”), sadness (“that time has passed”), or maybe joy (“that’s so silly”), then you know you have hit on something workable.
Once you have a solid commitment, both mind and body can guide you to strategically take action in line with your commitment in a way that deepens your impact and influence.
Wisdom is seeing the world through your lens (taking what you know, what you learn, and what you experience), and referencing against what others see, and how they experience you, from their lens.
To understand the automatic reactions we cannot see, it is essential to learn in community, seeking reflections from other learning partners: people committed to your and their own growth.
Learning partners see your actions through their own lens, developed over the course of their lifetime. The action you take impacts them. While the impact is neither right nor wrong, they can provide you with feedback on how your body’s actions (patterns of thought, moods and physical movements) may land differently than you intend. This helps you identify your automatic responses, your lens.
When we clean the lens from both sides, learning the language of the body and learning how we show up through community, we strengthen our ability to fulfill our commitment and live into our truth and power.
The Leader You Wish to Be
With a solid commitment, an understanding of the language of the body, and a community to help you on your journey, you learn practice that accelerate your trajectory toward the leader you wish to be. It simply takes practicing taking new action with a conscious commitment, which is no small feat, yet more rewarding than you can imagine.