Corporalita – Nurturing grace, ambidexterity, fitness and balance
I remember the time when, in my previous career, I worked in international companies. As if it was a rule, my superiors were foreigners. There were Italians, Germans, Austrians, Frenchmen… Each of them had their own style of leadership, their own strengths and weaknesses. What everyone had in common and what I noticed every day was – neat nails! This may sound ridiculous. Believe me, their tidiness, in fact – the body care and healthy diet they practiced, was so impressive, that it had to be noticed.
As a thought exercise, think: how do you imagine the physical appearance of a genius? Most people, faced with this question, succumb to the stereotypes and imaginations of a skinny, pale man with glasses. But Leonardo, and most geniuses in human history, have been endowed with extraordinary physical energy and ability. Goethe described Leonardo as “Very beautiful and of extraordinary in physical appearance, reminiscent of the model of human perfection.” Leonardo’s practice of anatomy can even be linked to his extraordinary physical abilities – he was a skilled rider, swordsman, swimmer… He was a vegetarian and an excellent cook. He believed that exercise and a balanced food intake were the key to health and well-being. In addition to all this, he used his left and right hand with equal ease and quality – which is a consequence of constant exercise! He deeply believed that everyone was responsible for their own health and well-being.
The state of the body, the state of mind and emotions are inextricably linked. You probably remember the situation when, after receiving the good news, you started singing, smiling, walking easily. Then beautiful thoughts began to swarm, then even more beautiful feelings, then an even wider smile… A similar circle, in the opposite direction, begins when we hear bad news or suffer physical pain. Emotions and thoughts are the drivers of the whole process. The body NEVER starts that process – unless we consciously force it. The state of the body affects the state of mind (and emotion). If you expect to be “fit” in thinking, to be focused, strong in decision-making or to be able to understand a complex situation, you will do it much better if your body, emotions and thoughts are in harmony and – strong.
You have heard of successful business people who run 10km before work or swim for half an hour in the pool. This is not a recommendation to wake up at 05:00 and practice physical activity before work !! This is a recommendation to find enough time during the week to take care of your body – to eat healthily, be physically active and get enough sleep. In this way, you will enable your body, and indirectly your mind, to have the strength to face challenging situations. Sometimes that strength means focus, in other situations flexibility and empathy.
Some of Leonardo da Vinci’s advice are:
• Beware of anger, avoid sad moods
• Rest your head, keep your mind happy
• Cover well at night
• Exercise moderately
• Avoid debauchery and pay attention to ishan
• Eat only when you are hungry and take small snacks
• Chew well
• Go to the toilet regularly
How many of these tips do you practice during your day? Do you happen to get home after work and eat your first meal when the sun has already set? Or sit in the same position for a few hours, without a toilet break.
In the long practice of working with leaders, one of the first action steps I have seen my clients define and make is the introduction of physical activity in the daily / weekly schedule. Body movement leads to amazing results in most areas of life: productivity, focus, satisfaction, motivation, relationships. Hormones and chemical reactions that are triggered during physical activity, as well as the feeling of victory and self-satisfaction after training (especially in situations when training is preceded by an internal struggle with laziness) are valuable for well-being and quality of life in general. Ease of perspective change, optimism and self-esteem become ubiquitous allies.
How to encourage yourself to start dealing with your body?
• look at yourself in the mirror
• draw your own body
After that, you can start with the following list:
• Practice balance
• learn to juggle
• Introduce regular meals
• Eliminate late meals
• Reduce test intake
• Limit the amount of meat
• go to bed before midnight
• sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow
• cover yourself adequately
• Go to the toilet regularly
• Go for regular check-ups
• Dress neatly
Feel free to define your own list.
if you can’t take care of yourself, how will you (as a leader) take care of your people?