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Are You Truly Ready For A Leading Role?

Imagine you are the star of the show. Your name is called and you take your place in the wings.  You are alone, in the semi-darkness, waiting your entrance. With dramatic anticipation, the curtain rises and the lights illuminate the space, revealing the stage and your audience. What happens next? Do you trust yourself to step into the light, confident you will give a good performance (and equally secure knowing that, should you happen to fall flat on your face, you can smile and carry on) Or do you hesitate too long, miss your cue, and experience such fright that you give up those dreams of being the star and beat a retreat to the safety of your day job? I know countless women who have the talent, skills and knowledge to take their business to the next level. And  too many of those women have sabotaged their success just as they were on the verge of a breakthrough. Every year in the lead up to International Women’s Day on 8th March, I hear an increasing number of calls for women to take up more visible positions ; in politics, in business, in communities.  (Have you noticed how enlightened women entrepreneurs are being hailed as the next global economy?) But you know, it’s really not that easy. What is less frequently spoken about (at least in public), is that many women are simply not practiced at being ‘Visible’ Leaders.  It seems shameful to admit somehow, as if it’s a weakness that we are responsible for. We are not. There is no doubt that we are experts at what we do. But the truth is, a good number of us haven’t been awarded the opportunities or experiences that equip us to face the Leadership challenge in the long-term.  Too many training programmes fail to  provide the resources we need, when they ignore the  sticky issues that exist around attitudes and perspectives on women’s power and leadership, and don’t take account how our histories and experiences shape our performance.   And we were lucky if we grew up with the mentors and role models to show us how to we can take the lead without losing our heads, our integrity and our identities along the way. The thing is, achieving success inevitably brings demands and complex challenges. You know that, which is why you hesitate.  Even natural born leaders need to build appropriate resilience and reserves before they move out in front and risk being in the line of fire. That’s...

Embodied Leadership: Free Taster at Roffey Park

Want to know more about Strozzi Institute’s unique embodied leadership programme and if it’s right for you? Roffey Park in West Sussex is the only place in the UK where you can experience Strozzi Institute’s renowned courses. They are offering their Leadership In Action Course on 21st to 24th May 2012.  But if you want to know what you are letting yourself in for first (something quite transformational I can assure you), then you can take advantage of their  Free Taster Day that is happening on 6th March. For more information, go to Or...

Embodying Boundaries

Stressed? Overwhelmed? Frustrated? Feeling discomfort, and unease? You’ve probably got a case of ‘crappy boundary’ syndrome! I’ve learned the messy way, that if we  want to stay in our power, and perform at our best under pressure, then we have to get clear on where we draw the boundaries and where we walk the line. Boundaries are vital for keeping us safe and secure. They allow us to keep what harms and disturbs us at arms length, so we don’t become destabilised. And they allow us to let in the stuff that nourishes and strengthens us, which feeds our resilience.  Boundaries are intimately connected with your right to claim your existence, and your right  to take a stand for yourself, and what matters to you. And our capacity to hold relaxed but strong boundaries allows our clients, our families, and our children, to experience  more support, containment and security for themselves. So everyone benefits. We negotiate boundaries in all areas of our lives; we have emotional, relational, physical, sexual, social, financial, intellectual and spiritual boundaries. But rarely do we bring conscious attention to what our personal limits are, and where our defenses are  too permeable or too rigid. If the people in your life don’t know your limits, they’ll assume they have permission to keep doing what they are doing until you say stop.  The problem is,  if you don’t know what your limits are either, they’ll keep doing it until you reach overwhelm or breakdown.  At the very least, you will feel taken advantage of. The first step is to become aware of the boundaries you need to strengthen (or loosen), in order to nourish you and meet your needs better. But that’s not enough. As I’m sure you have experienced, being aware that you need to say ‘NO’ to a request, and knowing both the words to say and the reason to say them, doesn’t make it any easier to say ‘NO’ in the moment, when you are in contact with the other person. Instead we become dis-abled by the feelings, sensations, histories and experiences that are imprinted in our bodies.  We are physically unable to communicate our intention. We may create other ‘defenses’ to maintain a superficial sense of safety. We say yes, but then sabotage the agreement. We may act out knee-jerk responses, or otherwise react inappropriately, but they only every provide short-term relief. That’s because  boundaries are an embodied experience; it is at the edges and the spaces of our physical organism that we meet, communicate, and...

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