I love hiking with business leaders. Hiking, yoga, walking, dancing, whatever… the wisdom of the body is one of the best business partners you’ll ever have.
I don’t know what it is exactly, it’s probably different for everyone, but here’s what I notice. In the act of getting into your body, endorphins get released, fatigue kicks in, presence is required for survival, the beauty of the scenery overwhelms, the feeling of doing something really great for your body delights… Magic happens. The pressure is off, the heart and intuition kick in at a deeper level, the brain no longer needs to “look good”, and the ego takes a nap.
And then we really get to see what’s up.
Recently I worked with the CEO of a start up who wanted some thought partnership; specifically on his business model and leadership team. Their current model had been feeling stunted, ineffective, and exhausting — he wanted to explore other options. Ten minutes into the conversation, it was clear to me that more than looking at strategy, alternative models, and other people, he needed space and a heart-to-heart.
So we hiked.
By the end of our 7 miles (and 8 billion steps) — we knew 3 things: 1) his ego and what I call the “Army of Should”, were currently running his business, 2) he hadn’t truly decided to grow the business to the next level (however his ego and army had and were torturing him daily), and 3) he needed to build a daily practice into his life that would give him space to think, intend, get into his body, and check in.
Which leaves us with this… If you’re feeling stuck, stunted, or simply off path, consider the following:
- Who’s running you? Your business, your life, your relationships…Are you making decisions from your inner knowing and wisdom, your true desire, and your intuition (of course accompanied by due diligence) — OR is your ego and your Army of Should running the show? The Army of Shoulds are all the “shoulds” that get projected upon you by what your mom, boss, friends, family, and culture think you should do. You, if you get still and present and really check in, know when ego and should are in the house. Their signals tend to be and feel different than soulful, intuitive, and authentic decisions. You may wake up with dread, you may not be hitting goals (despite intent and priority), or you may just feel like something you claim to want is just a tad “crooked”. Solution? Stop, breathe, get curious, get honest. Awareness is half the battle (and then you’ll need a different kind of courage when it’s time to course correct).
- Have you truly decided to make something happen? I know so many people, teams, and organizations even, who’ve said they want to do something (lose 5 pounds, have a better relationship, create a shift in culture, make something happen), but it just doesn’t happen. Energetically something is off. Very often, it’s because they haven’t truly DECIDED to make it happen. They’re either not aligned internally with themselves on what they want (it’s a “should”), or they’re not truly aligned with each other. Solution? Check in. Have you truly decided to make this thing happen? Does it feel good to you because YOU want it? Where is your team not truly in alignment? What’s the wisdom in that? What’s an authentic decision you might make that can help you take the next step? Note that deciding NOT to decide right now is a powerful decision in itself as well as an effective state shifter. As soon as you name it and give yourself permission to decide NOT to do something (including making the decisions at all) -- space opens up, energy shifts, and now you have new information to pull from in present time.
- Have you created space for yourself? This does not have to be huge (though if you’re up for a retreat, go go go!) This can be as simple as 5-10 minutes in the morning to get present, see how you are and how you feel, and to set intentions. Adding in a physical practice — whether it’s running or yoga or dancing around your living room naked — gets you into your body and gives you more access to you. Try it on, try it out, and tap into the powerful wisdom your body provides.
When we’re running ourselves, making authentic grounded decisions, and making space for us, we’re better. Period. We’re better for ourselves, for our people, for our organizations, and for the impact we want to create in the world. A little goes a long way; we must simply show up.
For more on creating space, optimizing leadership, deciding, getting in touch with “shoulds” and showing up, check out the upcoming book Contagious Culture (McGraw-Hill), coming November 16!
This article originally appeard on Inc.com on October 13, 2015.
- Learn more about creating a Contagious Culture in your work and life
- Subscribe to The Beat - the weekly reflection and accountability tool
- Share this post with your network or add your comment below!