The executives I’ve coached who have had the most success are the ones who persistently incorporate a daily physical practice that helps them embody the person they wish to become.
Maya jokingly called herself a robot: "Coffee in, powerpoint out..." Eyes glazed, she overrode her fatigue with caffeine and anxiety-induced adrenalin to churn out data rich presentations. As she learned to listen to her body, she discovered that cold feet was her body’s warning sign that she was feeling stressed, and it became a trusted signal for her to set limits on her relentless workload. Though uncomfortable at first, putting her foot down and taking a stand garnered more respect from colleagues and clients, not less.
In Stuart’s case, speaking clearly and succinctly was paramount. He didn't realize it, but his tendency to slouch was part of the problem. His intention to make others feel comfortable or less intimidated didn’t actually work - for them or for him. He discovered that sitting and standing in alignment felt more comfortable and helped him stay calm during high-stakes presentations. This new calmness helped him focus and as a result he became more clear and concise.
For Alek, a tightly wound CEO, clowning around and making silly sounds and faces helped him lighten up as a leader, husband and parent of two kids. For all of my clients, self-awareness is fundamental. Managing their bodies is a game changer because it instantly reduces stress and allows them to be strategic and deliberate rather than tense and reactive. It also helps them feel more energized, creative, happy and whole.