by Sharon Newport
Good leaders align their actions with their values. Inspiring leaders embody their values, vision,
and commitment. Furthermore, they can do so even when under pressure. The key to becoming
this type of inspiring leader requires building a muscle memory in the body.
What does the body have to do with leadership?
Current neuroscience tells us that while we may believe we are choosing how to behave
cognitively, our rational mind plays a limited role in our behavior, and approximately 95% of our
behavior happens from the unconscious. When you couple this with how neuroscience also tells
us the fastest way to affect change in yourself and in others is through your body and with your
presence, we have powerful information to empower leaders and support our working
Call to mind an inspiring leader you know or see in the world. Are they:
- Inclusive leaders?
- Constantly curious and slow to judgment?
- Known for cultivating good relationships?
- Known for finding solutions or accessing creativity under pressure?
- Demonstrating loyalty to their team?
In their presence do you feel:
- More at ease?
- More capable to be your best self?
- Seen in their presence?
We all have neural pathways that operate below our conscious awareness. Often based upon
patterns from the course of our lifetime, we can retrain ourselves to become aware of these
habitual patterns that derive from our body and our current muscle memory. We can then slow
ourselves down enough to disrupt the reactive and unhelpful patterns to become more
responsive and aligned in our values and preferred behaviors. Additionally, the impact is
authentic and helps to create our preferred presence, embodying our preferred impact, and
thereby inspiring others with this energy to do the same.
Think of first responders, or soldiers, or anyone who excels in life-or-death moments. Their
heart slows down, they can immediately access flow and creativity, they become keenly aware
of everything, their vision expands to include more of their periphery, they can make the most
serious decisions immediately and with conviction, pushing back on anything that stands in their
way, and their body is fully engaged at all times. It’s not just their unique skills, it’s the body
being aligned to their values, integrity, and commitment. They’ve learned the physical cues that
tells them to how to show up in those crucial moments and their muscle memory kicks in
immediately. While much more dramatic than many of our everyday leadership scenarios, the
biology, physiology, and neuroscience is similar.
When we learn to slow down and listen to what our body is telling us we can interrupt
unconscious patterns and move from being reactive to being responsive. This result requires
building a new muscle memory, which requires daily practice. The benefit of this work can
manifest in all areas of your life.
“Tender enough to feel
Present enough to witness
Humble enough to listen
Courageous enough to act
Accountable enough to change”
As Jim Loehr, a performance psychologist, and Tony Schwartz, a corporate executive, stated in
their article for the Harvard Business Review 2001, Making of a Corporate Athlete they talk
about how executives need to take care of their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual
capacity in order to be effective. They said, “Of course even corporate athletes who train at all
levels will have bad days and run into challenges they can’t overcome. Life is tough, and for
many time-starved executives, it is only getting tougher. But that is precisely our point. While it
isn’t always in our power to change our external conditions, we can train to better manage our
The fastest and most effective way to these solutions is through the body.
Join us to learn more about how to create these changes in your life and your leadership.
Dates: February 15, 2023 to March 22, 2023–3:30pm-5:30pm EST
Upon successful completion, participants will be able to:
- Understand the intelligence of the body and access a centered state of flow.
- Recognize the information transmitted through the body in order to increase
awareness, sharpen clarity, and enhance skillful action.
- Modulate our presence to meet the needs of a given situation
- Shift from a reactive state to a responsive, skillful state while under pressure.
- Apply new skills to strengthen relationships with self and others.
Sharon Newport, CAE
Sharon is an organizational development consultant and a certified association executive who partners with leaders to advance their organization’s cultural and strategic goals. She is an international facilitator and speaker who spent over a decade working as an actor and documentary film/television producer with programs on The History Channel, The Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Sharon is an alumna of Georgetown University’s Organizational Consulting and Change Leadership program.