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Category: Embodied Leadership

Embodied leadership means you bring out the best in yourself and others, as you’re always fully aware of what your mind and body are saying to you and them.Embodied Leadership involves the way you speak, the language you use, the way you position your body, the harmony you feel by being fully present, and the calming and reassuring messages you convey to others. When you practice embodied leadership you’re able to value, motivate, and bring out the best in yourself and others.

Embodied Intelligence Isn’t Just for Robots

Scientists know it’s important to teach Embodied Intelligence to robots; yet, ironically, we are neglecting to train HUMANS in these very important life skills!“A relaxed aware body-mind is the conductor of creativity” – Mark Walsh

Did you know that scientists are trying to teach Embodied Intelligence to robots, Artificial Intelligence [AI] of the future? One project “aims to build a theoretical framework for embodied artificial intelligence that treats the brain, body, and environment as inseparable cognitive elements. This theory will guide the creation of artificial agents that adjust their neural networks (brains) to feedback from their bodies and surroundings.”

These scientists know that embodied intelligence is essential for being a positive force in today’s society; yet, it’s ironic that today’s educators are neglecting to train HUMANS in these very important life skills! But I see this as an opportunity for you to rise to the top of your profession, by honing your embodied intelligence. This will put you leaps and bounds ahead of the pack, so to speak.

How can embodied intelligence help you to succeed in life and business?

How often do you experience the disconnection between knowing what your best behavior is and not being able to make yourself act in harmony with it? It can be frustrating and demoralizing! You want to go exercise, but you roll over and go back to sleep. You want to eat more healthfully, but you reach for the bag of chips. You want to speak with confidence, but you slump and start mumbling. The key to removing this inner conflict and gaining greater harmony between your thoughts, emotions and actions is to develop a greater understanding of your shape somatically.

What do I mean by “your shape”?

Your shape is the totality of your experience: it’s the story you’ve collected over the years about yourself, about other people, and about the world. Making sense of your story, understanding where you come from, understanding what you believe, and how your emotions are showing up in your body, are all impacting whether or not you can step into the next phase of your life. Without this understanding, this embodied intelligence, you’ll go through life like a character from one of James Joyce’s stories – “Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.”

What we learned in our first five to seven years of life makes certain behaviors more habitual than others. That’s when you formed your unique stress response. Maybe you learned that drawing inwardly kept you safe. Or you learned to get angry and scream to be heard. Or you learned to please others, so you didn’t face confrontation. These responses to triggers follow you throughout your life, unless you mindfully retrain your mind and body to handle them differently. Knowing isn’t enough. Real change comes when you reprogram your body/mind connection with new behaviors and become the best version of yourself.

Your new shape – your positive mindset, the stories you’re telling yourself, your demeanor, the way you hold yourself – will help you make more compassionate and wiser choices.

When you tap into your body’s wisdom, you “turn on” your emotional intelligence and find your true self. You can, therefore, create faster and more sustainable shifts in your behavior. Understanding how to heal the mind/body connection – the embodied – somatic – whole person is powerful! The first step toward greater emotional intelligence is to daily practice mindfulness, so you’re fully present in the moment and recognize how your emotions and thoughts are affecting your body – your posture – your energy.

After studying embodied leadership at the Strozzi Institute and practicing the Feldenkrais Method®, I understand better how to teach you to connect with and learn from your body to grow and enhance your leadership presence and skills.

When you change your body shape, you can change a deep-seated behavior, which significantly improves your leadership outcomes. Act like a winner, and you’ll be a winner. Act like a leader, and you’ll be a leader.

Since most of us have been taught to spend time in our heads, accessing the vast embodied intelligence in the entire nervous system has become a dormant skill. But you can revive it! If you’d like to learn more about shifting away from a reactionary response to a more intentional state, plan on joining us at our Women: Bring Forth the Leader Within Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. We’re empowering women, like you, to live a vibrant life, elevate their presence, and make a difference in the world.

7 Strong Leadership Scenarios: How Do You Measure Up?

If you aspire to a strong leadership presence, allow challenges such as these 7 scenarios, to mold you into a better version of yourself as a person and leader.What goes on behind the scenes in the lives of great leaders? I look at the strong leadership presence of Tony Robbins, Lewis Howes, Brendon Burchard or Marie Forleo. They make it look so easy. Were they always strong people? Or did they learn to become strong people? I’d love to meet and ask them how they acquired their strong leadership skills, wouldn’t you?

We do know that much hard internal and external work goes on behind the scenes. All leaders continually work on developing mental strength. To give you a peek into the leadership world, here are seven “what if” scenarios. Think about how you would respond and why. This will reveal areas you may want to work on.

  1. Sentimentality and pragmatism. What if your “good friend” causes trouble in the company, because he can’t perform his job properly?

How will you react? Will you be patient, because there are mitigating circumstances? Will you assign him other tasks within his capabilities? Will you dismiss him?

How does someone with strong leadership skills respond? As a leader, you care deeply about your colleagues. You don’t have to be tough and unfeeling. But you do need strength to identify and manage personal feelings and issues that cloud your ability to see what’s best for the company.

  1. Earned trust. What if an employee is constantly pushing your boundaries?

How would you respond? Do you see her intent is disruptive, or is it creative? Does it become a personal challenge to your authority? Or do you see how she’s trying to make your company better?

What does someone with strong leadership skills do? You don’t have to be perfect as a leader. But you do need consistency and strength to clearly identify your boundaries and communicate these to your team. Consistent emotional states and dependable actions earn trust and make people feel secure.

  1. Kind yet firm. What if someone makes the same mistake over and over again?

What do you do? Is it kind to let it slide? Or do you take your frustration out by lashing him with harsh words and actions?

How does someone with strong leadership skills react? Leaders engender loyalty by personally connecting with their team to bring the best out of each one. They foster a harmonious company culture, not by being a “friend,” but by being someone who “gets” them and helps them excel at their jobs.

  1. Congruent actions and words. What if you continually promise more than you can deliver?

How would you respond? Do you shrug it off, making excuses? Or do you accept responsibility and make a course correct?

What does someone with strong leadership skills do? Once confidence is shaken, a strong leader knows it’s important to “knuckle down” and deliver on all future promises to regain their trust. She gets tough with herself so she fulfills her commitments and inspires her team.

  1. Initiate change. What if you’re brought in to lead a well-established organization and you want to shake things up?

What would you do?  Do you hit them between the eyes with your new way of doing things? Or do you assess the old way – seeing what works and changing what doesn’t?

How does someone with strong leadership skills respond? While change may be necessary, strong leaders evaluate the situation and individual team members to see what needs to be done for the betterment of the organization, considering how and when to do it.

  1. Ego. What if someone younger and prettier than you is on the team and it makes you feel threatened?

How would you respond? Will you use your position to make that person “suffer” until they leave?

How does someone with strong leadership skills respond? Personality is a strong factor for how well an organization runs. Strong leaders work at staying humble, considering the work each person contributes. It’s not about them. They put the needs of the team before their own.

  1. Control. What if someone you’ve invested a lot of time and energy in mentoring decides to leave?

How would you respond? Do you take it as a personal slight? Do you try to manipulate them into remaining, against their best interests?

How does someone with strong leadership skills respond? Strong leaders accept that people have to live their own lives, so they let go, without letting it disrupt their peace or that of the team.

If you aspire to a strong leadership presence, allow challenges, such as these, to mold you into a better version of yourself, as a person and leader. I’d love to help you hone your leadership skills. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

Executive Leadership Coaching Isn’t Just for C-Suite Executives

Executive Leadership Coaching Isn’t Just for C-Suite Executives “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right…If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” ~ Napoleon Hill

When you look at industry or world leaders, do you see them as your equal? We tend to put them on pedestals and idolize them, don’t we? Like most people, you probably think, “I could never be like them!” However, they, as well as all C-level executives and corporate leaders, are only human. They don’t succeed in all of their glorious accomplishments by themselves. In fact, they especially need support, since they expend so much time, strength and energy sustaining a high level of excellence.

Who supports the men and women at the top?

World leaders, C-level executives and all those in corporate leadership positions carry a heavy load. The business and employees depend on these execs to establish a culture that allows each person to perform at their highest level of competency. Since everyone “below” them is depending on them, executive leaders can’t expect personal and professional support to come from within the firm. They reach outside for executive leadership coaches to mentor and support them. And these same services are within your grasp, too!

Executive leadership coaching unlocks leaders’ potential to maximize their own performance. It helps leaders work on emotional intelligence, authenticity, well-defined boundaries of accountability, clear and direct communication, problem solving, decision-making, self-awareness and self-management.

What specific benefits can you expect from executive leadership coaching? You’ll be able to…

1. Mindfully create a vision for each role you play in life – whether that’s as a business leader, marriage mate, parent, caregiver or community leader.

2. Clearly define core values you want to exemplify in your life, which will inform your intentions, choices, and actions in all relationships.

3. Work purposefully toward a promotion or improved status of life, by strategically fast-tracking your ability to perform necessary skills.

4. Gain a competitive advantage in your industry or team, as you improve and enhance specific leadership skills.

5. Have a safe place to nurture personal growth and challenge your beliefs, as you can openly and honestly discuss your vulnerabilities and fears.

6. Discover the soft skills, which make tactical challenges such as decision making, conflict resolution or meaningful communication easier. 

7. Explore and improve your self-confidence and emotional intelligence, so you know how to read the big picture emotional landscape.

8. Develop human effectiveness by building deeper relationships in work and in life.

9. Master delegating and trusting others to contribute to the organization’s success.

10. Make a difference and add value to any given situation, as you develop greater self-confidence and accept full responsibility for your decisions and actions.

11. Deal with complicated challenges that are unique to leadership challenges by discerning the best culture and environment for people to operate at their best.

12. Learn techniques for managing your emotions, so you think clearly no matter what happens.

Leadership comes naturally to a few, but most of us have to work hard to become leaders. Either way, quality leadership doesn’t just happen by chance. Leadership skills must be fully developed and honed. That’s where executive leadership coaches like me can help you reach and maintain your full potential. By employing somatic coaching methods, I help unlock your full potential for excellence. Are you ready to fly? Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

Feed Your Ambition & Catapult Your Leadership Career to Success

Feed Your Ambition & Catapult Your Leadership Career to Success“It is a grand thing to rise in the world. The ambition to do so is the very salt of the earth. It is the parent of all enterprise, and the cause of all improvement.” ~ Anthony Trollope 

There is an ingrained, cultural bias to think it’s wrong to feed your ambition, if you’re a woman. Women with ambition have gotten a bad rep…they’re called selfish, b**chy, pushy, and unlikable. For example, there was a very revealing study conducted by the Columbia Business School. Half the class received a case study about a venture capitalist named “Heidi”; and the other half received the same case study with the name changed to “Howard.” While everyone in the class judged the content to be equally important, the ones reading about “Heidi” said she wasn’t likable, whereas the ones reading about “Howard” said he was likable.

It also illustrates the fundamental challenge to women’s leadership…qualities traditionally associated with leaders (assertive and authoritative) are not traditionally viewed as attractive in women. Both men and women are making judgments from this outdated paradigm. It’s time for a more expansive worldview that begins with finding the answer to this question:

How can you maintain joy and balance, as you feed your ambition?

While there’s a place for networking and finding support among “women’s only” groups, this exclusivity can reinforce the gender divide. A more integrative approach allows women who have extraordinary leadership qualities to do extraordinary work within any organization. Women don’t have to try to be like their male counterparts. They simply need to nurture and recognize their leader within and make that their strongpoint.

As I practice this within my own life and career, I’ve formed deeply meaningful leadership connections with men and women. At present, I’m partnering with Nando Raynolds, and we’re training both men and women over at our Institute for Professional Leaders website. I’ve also partnered with Louise Santiago to lead an annual all-woman retreat in Mindo, Ecuador.

Would this have happened if I was pretending to be what I’m not? No. These connections are based on being our authentic selves and bringing our unique talents and gifts to the table. We’re successful because our focus is on being the best leaders we can be, not making an issue over gender.

While the world, in general, is still dismissive of women with ambition, there are shifts in accepting people who feed their ambition in an authentic way. I recommend reading an inspiring article about three very ambitious women, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Tory Burch. Here are three very transformative messages I gleaned from their struggles and successes that will help you feed your ambition in a sustainable way:

1. Feed your ambition, by believing in yourself. If you see an opportunity, don’t hold back. Trust your instincts; learn all you can about your topic; and create a step-by-step plan for making it work. Don’t take no for an answer.

2. Feed your ambition, by deeply knowing you deserve success. While it’s helpful to look for role models, don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to them and putting yourself down before you even get started. This is where the issue of deserving it or not rears its ugly head. If you put in the work, you deserve the success. Believe that with all your heart, because it’s true.  

Stop worrying about what others will say. Don’t ask for permission or be apologetic. Erase from your vocabulary hesitant words like, “Is this Okay?” “It’s not as good as I’d hoped.” “I wish it was better, but…” If there’s room for improvement, make it! Don’t apologize for a job half done. Finish it. Polish it. Make it shine! However, beware of stalling out on the fine line between being a perfectionist and being good enough to put it out there into the world. You can adjust and tweak as time goes along.

3. Feed your ambition, by owning your success. We’re taught that it’s not polite to brag, so we hold back from speaking about our successes. Here’s a much healthier mindset to adopt: it’s not bragging; it’s sharing information that can help others to succeed too. Become more mindful and notice what internal shifts and external actions led to moments of success, whether small or large. Then you can turn these steps into a success story that has real value for those who listen to you. This, in turn, grows your own confidence immeasurably.

Are you ready to feed you ambition? Within days, my colleague, Louise Santiago, and I will be traveling to our annual retreat entitled: “Women, Wisdom & Presence – Evolving our presence in the world.” Make plans now to join us next year. Together, we’ll be exploring how to recognize, name, and support the leader within you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Start Developing Your Leadership Presence Now!

Developing leadership presence, also called executive presence or professional presence, refers to how others perceive and accept you. The process of developing leadership presence starts long before you become a leader. “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” ~ Ray Kroc

Whether you call it leadership presence, executive presence, professional presence or boardroom presence, what you’re talking about is how others perceive and accept you. But the process of developing a leadership presence starts long before you actually take a leadership position. In order for others to see you as a leader, you must first see yourself as a leader.

Keep in mind that a leadership presence focuses on connecting and engaging with others authentically. Of course, you may feel unsure at times and doubt yourself. Everyone does. The authenticity comes from your motivation to bring something positive, inspiring, and valuable to your organization, team, or clients. When you take the focus off of yourself solely, you’ll be more at ease, which in turn puts others at ease and makes them more receptive to your leadership.

What are the most important steps for developing your leadership presence? As you go through the following list, you’ll see that each skill will add to your self-confidence initially, which translates into a greater leadership presence for all to see.

Physical presentation. The quality of your voice, your vocabulary, and the athletic fitness of your body are important aspects of developing your leadership presence. The more you train in each of these areas, the more control you’ll gain in all aspects of life.

Dress and grooming. Even if you work from home, dress the part. First impressions do matter. Hire a stylist, so you’re not wasting money on clothes that don’t fit the image you want to portray. You’re worth it!

Being well-read. When you’re interested in a lot of different topics, within your area of expertise and beyond, you’ll be able to engage with anyone you meet. Stay up with current events and watch the trends. That will give you a cutting-edge advantage.

Charismatic personality. With the right training, you can change any inherent trait or quality, so don’t settle by saying, “This is how I was born. I can’t help it.” You can master emotional competencies that leaders need, i.e., composure, courage, tenacity, or optimism.

Humility and vulnerability. These are must-have qualities, because people want to work with someone they can relate to. Being vulnerable is a sign of strength and is the quickest pathway to trust. As a caveat – leaders acquire a great amount of power, and it can be tempting to misuse it. If your focus is on helping others to shine, and you’re willing to show your humanity, then people will willingly follow you.

Relationship-building communication. Learn to speak in a way that makes people want to listen. The ability to deliver a clear, convincing and appealing message has extreme value. You can take voice lessons and presentation training to improve your voice quality. Not to be overlooked – active listening is a critical element to communication. Ask questions and listen attentively to understand and learn. Lean forward. Let people sense your interest in them as a person.

Deliver outcomes. As a leader, you are in charge and you have to make sure the right things happen at the right time. It takes strong decision-making skills, plus flexibility and energy to get others to deliver. You’ll need to give helpful and detailed feedback so your team knows what is expected of them.

What challenges you the most in your quest for a leadership presence? Please come over to my Facebook page and share your thoughts. Also, in September, my colleague Louise Santiago and I are hosting “Women, Wisdom & Presence – Evolving our presence in the world” in Mindo, Ecuador. Together, we’ll explore how to recognize, name, and support the leader within. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


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