21st century skills rooted in the 12th century

What’s your body have to do with it?

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What was it about the 12th Century?  Before technology people communicated directly with one another. We faced other people. Our bodies knew how to do this. Our muscles were in habit to this. It’s how we operated – to communicate for connection, for trust and for forming community. It’s how we belonged.  Our survival depended upon it.

Fast forward to the 21st Century – with distraction of the Smart Phone – or the computer monitor, many forgot how our human species is wired. By not paying attention to our human make up, we are out of habit and it takes us out of balance.

There are times in our lives when once again we need to depend upon our bodies to face and communicate clearly. For instance, when we are a leader to our team. Or, when we are deepening our relationship with our significant other.  Or, when we establish trust and safety with our children, to name a few.

In my practice, I encounter leaders and people who find it difficult to stand in stillness, to look someone in the eye, to reach another with their voice and to feel at ease and comfortable in their skin.

The three elements of trust are: Sincerity, reliability and competence (in your domain).

It’s with our body that we produce trust.  

In a recent article in HBR, How Our Brains Decide to Trust by Paul J. Zak 7/18/19 tells us.

Trust is the enabler of global business — without it, most market transactions would be impossible. It is also a hallmark of high-performing organizations. Employees in high-trust companies are more productive, are more satisfied with their jobs, put in greater discretionary effort, are less likely to search for new jobs, and even are healthier than those working in low-trust companies. Businesses that build trust among their customers are rewarded with greater loyalty and higher sales. And negotiators who build trust with each other are more likely to find value-creating deals.

How can we get back in to our body to produce this trust?


If you are out of practice, here’s a practice to get back in to your body in the moment. Only when you connect to yourself, can you connect with others. Get comfortable using this – especially when the stakes are high.

Something I learned from my Improvisation teacher, Paul Sills, is to Feel Your Feet.  Put all your attention down on your feet. Feel your feet on the floor.  Drop your weight down into your feet. This gets you grounded.  Take time to attune to this because when you do, you find that your breath has dropped low down into your abdomen where it belongs (as opposed to high up in your chest).

Take three deep inhales and exhale completely after each.  With practice, you will begin to feel that you are connected head to feet. Most importantly, you’ve removed tension. Mirror neurons tells us that if we project tension, we receive tension back to us.  This impedes the feeling of trust.

Also, understand that neurobiologists, today, tell us that we have three brains: in our head, our heart and our gut.  Now you are connected to all three – and find yourself using 12th century skills today to your full advantage. Stand in your full power to communicate your intention to another. Feel Your Feet.

I help ambitious leaders make and hold big promises and lead people through significant change.

They work with me to become radically present in a centered body, with a mood of positive energy and they provide their people with a story that provides a positive future (language).

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