As expected, my annual pilgrimage to Wisdom 2.0 featured many meaningful conversations about the convergence of consciousness and technology. But amid the sea of keynotes, panels and other content, one topic continues to pique my curiosity: the role of somatics, the experience of the body, in transformation. As an impact coach and consultant, I am especially interested in the implications of somatics on conscious leadership.
The Strozzi Institute, a leader in the field, popularized the term Embodied Leadership to explore this issue. It describes the school of thought like this: “Embodied leadership is derived from somatic coaching, a unique approach that brings the body forward as an advocate in creating a place for change and transformation. It brings together language, action, feeling and meaning and is based on the idea that the mind and body are inextricably linked: to develop one, a person must cultivate the other.”
By now, most people who are interested in personal or professional development know that mindfulness is a crucial piece of the puzzle. The benefits of meditation in particular have been so well documented that it feels redundant to list them here. But the conversation around somatics offers a new depth into this well-charted territory. In our pursuit of wellbeing, leaders need to engage our bodies as much as we engage our minds.
Our bodies play a key role in helping us navigate experiences and make decisions. By learning to become aware of how our bodies respond to a situation—whether it’s with joy or fear—we can tap into our inner wisdom and intuition. This is invaluable at every stage of any impact leader’s journey, but especially so during periods of high growth.
Listening to your body sounds simple enough. But in the Western world—and particularly in the world of business—we’ve largely fallen out of touch with this innate ability. We’ve all heard the phrase “listen to your gut” as often as we’ve been told to brush our teeth, but what exactly does that mean and how often do we really do that? We need to relearn how to hear what our bodies are telling us, and incorporate that into our work as humans and as leaders. As I continue to deepen my own practice of tuning into my somatic response, I’m inviting my coaching clients to consider this, too. What can our bodies tell us that our rational minds can’t?
It’s high time that leaders in Western culture learn to get “out of our heads.” I look forward to continuing to support my clients as they develop mindfulness not just of the mind, but also of the body. If you or someone you know is an impact leader who can benefit from coaching on the mind-body perspective, I look forward to hearing from you.