“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” ~ Jelaluddin Rumi , The Essential Rumi
Would the word “leader” be used to describe you? Do you feel like a leader when you walk into the room? Do your family, friends, coworkers, and colleagues comment on your leadership?
If you’re uncertain, don’t write yourself off as someone who’ll never be taken seriously as a leader. A person doesn’t develop a powerful leadership presence overnight.
Developing a leadership presence is our passion, because we believe that when women work together we can make a positive difference in our future. As Melinda Gates recently said, “I tell my daughters to have their voice in this world, and it became clear I needed to role-model that.”
To support each woman grow and develop as a leader we’ve created a process called the PADLE model. In our last few blog posts, we’ve been giving you a glimpse into each step. (Primal Core; Awareness; Declaration; and Leadership.)
The last step is Extension. Extension has to do with how you show up in the world; how you extend the work you have done on and with yourself into your professional and personal life. Extension is the way you bring your gifts into the world. You manifest it in the way you interact with others, the way you take care of yourself, and the way you live with integrity. It stems from how you think, make decisions, behave, manage your emotional state, and communicate. It is your leadership presence!
Leadership presence is a balanced blending of personal and interpersonal skills that sends all the right signals. It’s how you show up, how you make others feel, and how effectively you communicate both verbally and non-verbally. It gives you the “wow” factor. Ask yourself:
- Do I show up as a leader, with clear communication, strong empathy, and follow up on requests in a timely manner?
- Do I recognize the increased value I bring to others when I pause to take care of my own needs?
- Am I clear with the direction I want to go, who I want to impact and how?
People will be drawn to, and persuaded by, your leadership presence if you:
Radiate self-confidence. Remember, the expression you see on someone’s face is about them, not you. Keep your cool and don’t let them hijack your moment to shine!
Shift your focus to serving others. To create and deepen relationships, constantly look for ways that you can be of assistance to others.
Communicate well. When you balance excellent verbal skills with nonverbal cues of confidence, power and warmth, you will have the most impact.
Your presence in the world is an ongoing endeavor. It is the result of your inner work, knowing your strengths, weaknesses, talents and biases. This requires awareness, consistency, self-motivation, practices/routines, values, and a personal mission.
Those who have excellent leadership presence always have great human support, too. We’d love to support you. We encourage you to take the first step and work through our PADLE questionnaire. This free questionnaire has been designed to provide you an honest assessment of where your leadership skills are right now and where you want to be.
“Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50 percent of your time in leading yourself— your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20 percent leading those with authority over you and 15 percent leading your peers.” ~ Dee Hock
Would you be surprised if we told you, without ever seeing your bookshelf, that you already own the most important Leadership Manual you could ever study? It’s quite possible you’ve been using this Manual for some time but haven’t fully utilized it yet.
What Leadership Manual gives you the fastest, most sustainable shifts in your leadership behaviors? It’s the wisdom you hold in your own body! The key to your success is knowing how to tap into it. Maria, who has taken leadership trainings from the Strozzi Institute is highly skilled at helping clients connect and learn from their bodies to grow in their leadership. Today, she’ll share some pointers with you…
Neuroscience research on the mind/body connection shows that our leadership behavior is embodied. To change your behavior requires that you become very aware and mindful of what’s happening in your body. You can then use this wisdom to shape your thoughts and behavior so you intentionally obtain your best outcomes. Based on your body sensations, you become aware that you have more options available to you, so you can make smarter, more skillful and more compassionate choices.
We tend to spend too much time in our heads, and not enough time accessing the intelligence in our entire nervous system. When you tap into your body’s wisdom, you power up 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 practice mindfulness daily, so you’re fully present in the moment and recognize how your emotions and thoughts are affecting your body – your posture – your energy.
Take into account that our biological structure is created in our first five to seven years of life, which sets certain responses as our habitual way of being. For example, to survive, you’ve formed unique responses to stress. Perhaps it triggers anger within you or maybe withdrawal and avoidance. These often unconscious responses will show up in your leadership behavior. And they’re not always easy to shake, because they have become your survival responses.
The good news is that you can reprogram your body and rewire your brain! 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. Even if one brain circuitry has been damaged by inactivity, illness, stress, or trauma, you can often consciously train a different brain circuit to work around the broken one.
Leadership is the fourth step in our Newave PADLE leadership model. When you declare what is important to you and how you’re going to act daily, you begin your journey into leadership. Leadership is the process of becoming more deliberate and purposeful by bringing daily practices that are aligned with your embodied purpose. We invite you to take our thought-provoking questionnaire and power up your leader within.
“Commitment leads to action. Action brings your dream closer.” ~ Marica Wieder
When you’re born, your life is an open book filled with empty pages waiting to be written upon. We have the privilege and responsibility to write our unique story. Yes, our DNA and external forces, like our parents or culture, provide a structure upon which to build our story, but it’s up to each one of us to make sense of it and choose to write new chapters.
The question is: Will you let outside elements control your story, or will you pick up your pen and declare for yourself how you want to be? You can shape the person you are by intentionally declaring your commitments and purpose in life.
Declaration is the third step in our proprietary PADLE model we use to develop leadership skills. How do you declare your purpose? It’s more about what you do than what you say…
You declare your purpose in the way you approach your self-care.
Leaders who make a real difference do so by embodying their personal commitment to self and others. They embrace routines and practices that focus on self-care and centeredness, because that’s what energizes them to take daily action toward their purpose.
Yet, oftentimes, isn’t self-care the first thing you neglect, because “you’re too busy” or “you don’t have the time”? What you’re in essence declaring is that your purpose isn’t important to you. In contrast, taking time for self-care allows you to be centered, to mindfully find balance between your mind, body, and spirit. When you value and nurture yourself wholly, you have the power to direct your energy towards building any skill and cultivating any chosen behavior.
There are four steps to connecting self-care with declaring your embodied purpose…
1. Learn to feel and identify your body sensations, as you experience life. Reflect on how the first light of morning warms your skin and opens you up to another day. As you eat, nourishing food floods your body with renewed strength and vitality. Your loved ones cause you to soften or tense, depending on the current state of your relationship. Increase your awareness of sensations like these throughout the day.
2. As you make the connection between body sensations and emotions, you build trust in your Primal Core. Without judgment, you can see things as they are and accept them in the moment. Each reaction, each emotion informs and teaches you what serves you and what doesn’t.
3. With this increased clarity, you can form or un-form boundaries in your life. Define how you want to interact with the world and all living things within it. Define what you stand for, what you value, what you’ll allow and what you won’t. Your interdependence and interconnectedness is lived and felt, rather than being a vague concept of “right” behavior.
4. Your embodied purpose becomes actionable and observable. For example, if your purpose is to help women become leaders, you’ll embody a healthy lifestyle — you’ll eat nutritious food and exercise regularly, so you have the energy to keep going. You’ll value education and learn all you can in your chosen field. You’ll master leadership behavior and skills, like communicating effectively.
Regrets usually arise from what you don’t do, from unfulfilled dreams. These four steps will help you become more mindfully aware, which will enable you to declare what matters to you each day. Have you clearly identified your embodied purpose? Have you declared your commitments toward living that purpose? Sometimes we can get lost in the busyness of life. If that’s true of you, why not take advantage of our Newave PADLE leadership model questionnaire to help you get back on track.
“By becoming self-aware, you gain ownership of reality; in becoming real, you become the master of both inner and outer life.” ~ Deepak Chopra
When was the last time you caught yourself doing something that surprised or even appalled you, and you mentally berated yourself, “Why did I do (or say) that? I didn’t really mean it. Where, in the world, did THAT come from?!” We’ve all done it. There are times we simply are not aware of how our present state or past history is impacting us. But this lack of awareness can severely affect our relationships with others, whether personally or professionally. Learning to be more mindfully aware of self can minimize or avoid any damage that might result from times like these.
By the way, that’s not a typo in the title. It’s referring to the acronym we use for our proprietary Newave PADLE model, which you can use to evolve as a new kind of leader.
PADLE stands for:
We briefly covered information about our Primal Core, in our last blog post. Now let’s consider the second step, Awareness. The first move out of Primal Core and toward Extension is Greater Awareness. Becoming aware means that you begin to understand how you’ve embodied your history and why. You come to understand your personal themes and limitations. Awareness, without judgment, allows you to map your territory. This attitude of non-judgment brings compassion, which supports you as you begin to make changes. It takes clarifying your values to bring action and purpose to your life.
Greater awareness requires taking a Somatic approach — paying attention to the whole body as a source of wisdom and learning. We invite you to stand up right now, breathe deeply to center yourself and notice, with curiosity, the sensations in your body. What do you feel — tension, tightness, pain? Why is it there? Have you been slumped forward, so it’s difficult to straighten? What movements do you need to find relief? How does straighten your spine affect your self-confidence?
Developing greater awareness of your language, your body, your purpose, and your practices will unleash your potential to intentionally take new actions that are aligned with your vision, even under intense pressure. You can embody (completely own and sustain) the transformation. Getting your whole body involved takes transformation from the conceptual realm to the experiential realm. In other words, your new intentional way of living isn’t stuck as a mental exercise of what you desire to happen; it is your new way of living, of being.
To illustrate: a core skill required for leaders is deep listening, which means being fully present and engaged, without distraction. You can tell when someone isn’t interested and is only half listening, right? Deep listening is impossible if you’re not fully present. It takes the cooperation of whole body! No fidgeting, no looking elsewhere, and no doodling. Your eyes are looking into her eyes. Your ears are shutting out background noise. Your body is leaning forward to catch every nuance of speech. Your fingers may even be touching her forearm. The way you show up physically informs your emotional and interpersonal way of being.
Great awareness doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a consistent mindful practice. But be assured the more time you spend practicing, the more it becomes who you are. How would you rate your Awareness? We invite you to take our thought-provoking questionnaire to gain profound insight into this vital leadership skill.
“Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
How far can you see? Can you see endless possibilities for yourself? Can you see yourself leading amazing and life-altering opportunities? Or when presented with an opportunity do you say to yourself, “I can’t see myself doing that!?” If that’s your default answer, have you considered that your Primal Core is narrowing your scope as a leader?
What is your Primal Core? It’s about your historical embodiment — how you embody your personal history, ideas, beliefs and limitations. They, in turn, form your habits or patterns, which often are responsible for keep you stuck, because they trigger negative self-talk, limiting beliefs, the fight-or-flight response, fear, stress, doubt, or anxiety. Without even consciously knowing why, you find yourself doing the same thing — falling for the same kind of guy, getting passed over for promotion, having the same argument, or eating that tub of ice cream, when you really don’t want it — over and over again.
The development of your primal core begins in childhood. Out of certain life events, you develop beliefs about yourself, others, and the world at large. You make up your mind about these things as a child, with your limited ability to understand, to abstract, and to have ample perspectives. You create a story because, as humans, we like to make sense of things by categorizing, labeling and cataloging.
As the years go by, you embody your story. Your primal core shows up in muscle tone, posture, movement patterns and energy flow. It orientates you to certain perceptions, actions, and reactions and it certainly impacts your potential for leadership. You can’t separate your thoughts from your body — they are connected. You can’t separate your emotions from your body — they are connected. We thrive on being centered as a physical, emotional, mental, spiritual person.
What level of awareness would you say you have when it comes to your primal core?
What are your core thoughts, core values, core beliefs, core strengths, core muscles, which inform who you are at your very center?
It’s all too easy to be working within a limited lens of future opportunities because you’re unaware of your primal core. On the other hand, with awareness comes freedom! You can unfurl your own unique brand of leadership when you understand how to connect your body/mind/emotions/spirit as collaborative partners.
Are you ready to enhance your awareness of your Primal Core? Understanding your Primal Core is the first step of our Newave PADLE leadership model. We invite you to take our thought-provoking questionnaire where you’ll gain astonishing insight into your Primal Core and four other leadership skills, which you can then leverage in your growth and evolution as a new kind of leader.