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  • Kathleen Phelps

Leading from Our Bodies

There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

I was fortunate to be in London this summer with 100 coaches from around the world. If you ever want to be in room that just buzzes with potential and possibility, a roomful of powerful coaches uniquely committed to transforming reality as we know it, is the place to be.

In this master class with my coach, Rich Litvin and Steve Chandler, Steve drew a picture of the ladder of consciousness.  At the bottom of the ladder you had states of being like worry, depression, reactivity, defensiveness. At the top were states like optimism, receptivity, safety, connection – generally the places most people would say they would prefer to hang out in.

And what was the quickest way up the ladder?  They jokingly said it was LSD – laughter, singing and dancing.  As the music started, the group immediately began to move. Many of us could not dance without singing. And by the time the song was over, we spontaneously broke into applause and laughter.

While we were dancing you could tell that some people felt they looked silly.  But the smiles on their faces revealed that they liked having the permission to be so.  Others grinned as they remembered how smooth they could be when prompted.  There were some interesting expressions!

It was a great representation of a mind/body principle in action.  Deliberately getting ‘into’ our bodies shifted our mood, and allowed us to feel more open to possibility in a matter of minutes.

You may have seen Amy Cuddy’s powerful TED talk on power posing and on how “making yourself big” for just two minutes before a meeting or presentation actually changes the brain.  A recent NY Times article reports that changes occur in “ways that build courage, reduce anxiety and inspire leadership. “

And the science is there.  In an experiment she conducted with researchers Dana R. Carney and Andy J. Yap showed that “lab participants who spent two minutes in a room alone doing high-power poses (feet on the desk with fingers laced behind the head, let’s say) increased testosterone levels by about 20 percent and lowered the stress hormone cortisol by about 25 percent.”

For me, that brief interlude in London was all I needed to feel myself at the top of the ladder.  I felt amazing, fully present body, mind, and spirit, connected to everyone in the room, and more importantly really connected to me.  Instead of thinking  about how I’m here to serve, and who I’m here to be as a leader and in all aspects of my life…I could feel it on every level.

So I’ve committed to more LSD.  More optimism, more happiness, more connection, more me.  It only takes a few minutes.  Sometimes it is just putting on a Killers song for a few minutes while I sing and dance my head off for five minutes.  I’m partial to:

How you can incorporate more laughter, singing and dancing into your life?  Right now.


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