“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophies.” Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Last Spring Stanton Wallace, was invited to attend a Conference organised by SOL France (part of the Sol network) called “The learning body, the body at work”, designed and organised by Pierre Goirand.
It was a great opportunity to meet a strong network of people (researchers, consultants, coaches and business managers), people willing to share their vision and intuitions, and find new ways to create “body friendly” environments.
I first met Pierre Goirand during a martial art seminar in the Netherlands. It was not long before we realised that we were there not only to train our fighting skills, but above all to explore and experiment other ways of building a stronger body awareness, from which we could design a set of tools or principles to be used in our jobs.
How does my body react when confronted to danger or when I am about to engage in a fight? How can I quickly identify those reactions and deal with the situation in a more efficient manner? It has indeed been proven that our body perceives and reacts to danger much faster than our mind.
Once body awareness is enhanced, what principles can I apply to find an appropriate solution?
My martial arts experience has helped me understand that rather than sheer force or pure technique, it is our capacity to maintain a proper level of relaxation (in our mind and in our body) that will allow us to gain clarity, fluidity, and freedom of movement, and thus avoid or get out of trouble.
Can these martial arts principles be applied to our everyday life at work and at home? Can body awareness help us solve/anticipate issues in our work environment?
WORKING WITH YOUR BODY ?
When you look at it closely, you don’t have to be physically involved in a fight to be confronted to the manifestation of stress/tension in your body.
But then again, how often do we consciously decide to engage our body when entering a tough negotiation, or to solve a strategic issue?
In our corporate world, strategy is a matter of mind to such an extent that some of the candidates we meet refer to their job as “intellectual judo”.
However, if we consider our career as a long term project, can we possibly/consciously ignore the daily pressure we put on our body and the negative and sometimes devastating impacts it has on us?
Since we created Stanton Wallace 15 years ago, we have been in a perfect position to observe the devastating effects of stress on all our stakeholders. What is more, the number of people who openly speak about their burn out has increased dramatically in the last 5 years.
WHY SHOULD WE TALK ABOUT THE BODY IN A CORPORATE ENVIRONMENT?
Because there is a strong correlation between well-being (the state of being happy, healthy or succesfull) and performance.
And because our body is, most of the time, the first and most accessible entry point to well-being, a concept that is too often neglected in a professional environment (especially in the services sector, where value is intellectual).
Whatever we may think, it is our body that needs to cope with the consequences of our professional activity, whatever it may be (whether it is sitting/standing behind our desk or carrying heavy loads).
Somatisation might be light and subtle in the beginning (tightness, breathlessness, visual strain, constriction in the chest, sleep disorders…), but it can also be the warning signs of a burn out.
BODY I AM ENTIRELY AND NOTHING ELSE (Nietzsche, Thus spoke Zarathustra)
Being conscious that we are ONE (body and mind) is the first step towards fluidity. It is about being harmonious from within, and being able to interact harmoniously with others and our environment. It is a shortcut to reach sustainable efficiency.
“The way you sit, and stand can affect the way you speak or think”, says Wendy Palmer (founder of Leadership Embodiment).
If we teach ourselves how to develop our body awareness and to defuse stress from within, we will increase our capacity to concentrate, to cope with pressure and to think more effectively.
Opening up physically is not only a signal, but also an effective tool to help us expand our game range and our vision scope, and be who we really are.
BEING HARMONIOUS FROM WITHIN
At Stanton Wallace we believe that this principle also applies to organizations : whatever affects one cell may also affect the whole system.
Building resilient teams and organisations, bringing clarity, fluidity, and freedom of movement certainly sounds like a good prescription for a healthy business.
This journey starts with self-consciousness and motion, and remember to MIND YOUR BODY.