Activate your sense of action
it’s been almost two decades since my work with leaders began. My interest in leadership development was merely an interest in making sense of my own leadership journey and why personal leadership matters.
While working with leaders in my capacity as a facilitator or a coach, I noticed that although, they experience big insights, realisations, yet the integration of the new needed shift isn’t so easy, even at times creating more frustration and delusion in change.
I must say, these observations made me frustrated and interested even more to learn of how to accelerate the integration of change in behaviour and state of being. Also how to activate the commitment to self in individuals. Knowing that those leaders, apart from having demanding jobs, they also have a family life and time was always used as a reason for not committing and that was hard for me to accept.
Everything I teach or speak to, I had experienced. As much as I love knowledge, life experience taught me; the only way to learn is by practicing/applying the knowledge. Each time I learned something new that triggered my interest and curiosity, I straight try to find an opportunity to try it in order to learn more about the phenomena.
In the last couple of years, I had the intention to know more about how to help leaders sustain the changes they want? and the commitment to their personal development?
I found myself learning more about the neuroscience of learning, resilience, wellbeing. I experienced and experimented with different modalities to learn more about what worked and what not? and why not?
I noticed that although, I now knew more about why change is hard to sustain and what it needs to make it happen, it still didn’t answer my original question. I felt that I was still looking in the habitual way and yet the missing piece, isn’t in what I tend to focus on.
While having a casual conversation with a dear friend and mentor Shanker, and sharing my frustration around the current leadership development model and its slowness in supporting leaders to shift and my desire to investigate it and to accelerate it; he pointed me to the breath.
I was initially surprised and skeptical, to how something as simple as the breath can create a sustainable shift for someone, and what has breath got to do with leadership and sustainable change.
When learning more about the breath and embarking on couple of experiments of my own. I noticed how, four months of personal experiment with breath, I experienced a noticeable mood shift, lost couple of pounds from the waist, and gained an inch in my physiology as now my posture was much more improved.
All these physiological shifts, had an impact in my response to stress, it helped me manage my trigger response in interactions with others and more importantly for me personally, it helped me face conflict in a more constructive way and it attended to my aversion tendencies to conflict. I noticed I was less activated/animated and more centred and committed to connect not to wrong or right
This first encounter with the breath, led me on three years of somatic experiencing to not only deepen my experience of my own body, know how my nervous system is supporting my connections or prohibiting them. It helped me see my body not as muscles and bits of fast but more an intelligent system that can help me regulate, connect, feel safe and live more from dignity. My relationship to my body has changed completely and I am now in reverence to it
When embarking on this journey, I found, there were so many pioneers in the field of soma, such as Dr.Peter Levine, Dr Stephen Porges and Dr. Rchard Strozzi. These individuals combined ancient wisdom traditions from east with science to help heal and alleviate people suffering. If their work is so powerful, why are we not experiencing it as part of our leadership programs.
Coming back to the missing piece of the puzzle in leadership development and self-discovery and awareness space. See what we have on offer in corporations and institutions doesn’t take into account the body intelligence.
What I learned from my experience with clients and my study, in order to achieve truly sustainable changes in individuals, teams, and organisations, it is necessary to implement body-oriented somatic practices to dissolve habits, behaviours, and interpretations of the world that are no longer relevant. As these ways of being are integrated in the body — at the level of the musculature, organs, and nervous system. By implementing a somatic approach, these patterns can be shifted in order for transformation to occur.
Learning more about the body, I could see the emotional and physical cost of being distanced from our bodies. Originating from the rationalistic idea that the mind and body are separate, this sense of disconnection spurred the emergence of the field of somatics that views the body as not just a physiological entity, but as the centre of our lived experience in the world.
What I learned through my journey is that insight is part of the Conceptual Self-Awareness, action happens through the body.
So if we want to commit to sustainable change in leadership, we need to start bringing the Soma into the leadership development space.
Also I am realising that when tapping into the body intelligence, we don’t only improve our leadership presence but also our ability to connect and engage/enter into more authentically in relationships.
If you are interested in knowing how this work comes to live, reach out. Happy to help you experience the breadth and width of your being.