Three leaders walk into a room. They say nothing, but their bodies convey a lot. One takes long strides, chest and nose tilted upward, shoulders swaggering back and forth, slightly leaning forward. Another doesn’t quite make eye contact, hands in pockets, shoulders slumped. The third walks with an even pace, shoulders back yet relaxed, with belly, chest, and head in line with each other. 

Who do you trust?

The shapes of our bodies convey a lot of information, both to ourselves and others.

I invite you to experiment now. 

Stand up. Slump your shoulders, bring your chin slightly toward your chest and your gaze downward. Notice how you feel. Then, widen your stance, put your hands on your hips, puff up your chest, aim your nose in the air. Notice how you feel. Place your feet under your hips. Bring your shoulders up to your ears and slide them back down. Align your chest over your belly, your head over your shoulders, your body in a straight line. 

How do you feel?

When you’re slumped over, you’re likely to feel less confident. In an aggressive, power pose, you’re likely to feel more confident. And when your body is centered on the outside, you’re likely to feel centered on the inside. In addition to confidence, each of these postures conveys a certain level of trustworthiness.

A trustworthy leader stands in the space between leaning in and leaning back.

Lift your arm, pointing straight toward the ceiling. Tilt your hand back, then forward, and imagine your body leaning back and leaning forward. Then bring your hand upright in alignment with the rest of your arm.

When your body is centered, you are open and able to listen to both to yourself and others. People can sense that they have space to contribute and that they will be heard. They can trust you that your contribution is coming from a grounded, present place. Likewise, when you are centered, you’re more likely to trust yourself.

Centering your body— belly, heart, and head in alignment with each other— creates a positive feedback loop. When your body is upright, you’re more likely to feel a sense of inner peace. This quiets the noise within and makes it easier to hear (and to follow) your inner guidance. When you act in alignment with your inner guidance, you’re more likely to feel like things are lining up inside. You’re more able to sense life energy flowing through your body. This, in turn, makes it easier to walk upright through the world.

The 3-Dimensions Centering Practice

When I first started coaching, I’d jump right into the conversation. But a couple of years into my work, I realized that the work would be more effective if clients were centered from the beginning. I now start all of my coaching sessions with a short centering practice. I’ve found this amplifies the effects of our work together.

One of my favorite practices is three-dimensions centering, which I learned from Doug Silsbee during my Presence-Based Coaching training, and he learned it from his teacher, Richard Strozzi.

I’ll guide you through a short version now, and at the time of this writing, you can also download a guided recording of the practice on my website.

Stand up in a comfortable, upright position. Feel the soles of your feet, the weight of your body evenly distributed, settling into the support of the ground beneath you. Then, feel the buoyant energy of the earth filling you up, like a tall glass of water, from your feet up to your head. Sense your verticality, your length. Take in your verticality as the dimension of dignity. Get curious about what dignity feels like in the cells of your body.

Now, notice the space on the left side of your body, the space on the right side, and the space in between. Feel your breath expanding you out from side to side, allowing yourself to take up space. Feel your horizontality, your width. Take in your horizontality as the dimension of belonging. Get curious about what belonging might feel like in the cells of your body. 

Now, bring your attention to your depth. Notice the front edge of your body, from your face down to your feet. Then, bring your attention through your body to the back edge, the top of your head down to your heels. Bring your attention into the space behind you, imagining that you had a beautiful tail connected to your shoulders and upper back, like a dinosaur or dragon tail that extends onto the ground behind you and that you can rest back into. Your tail and your depth represent all of the resources that you’ve gathered throughout your lifetime and that your ancestors gathered before you. Feel yourself resting back into your tail, your depth. Your depth represents your fundamental resourced-ness. Get curious about what it feels to be resourced through to the cells of your body. 

Spend a moment more to taking in your height and dignity, your width and belonging, and your depth and fundamental enoughness. Then, slowly return to your breath and the rest of your day.

Reading this, you may immediately feel a shift in your body. Or you may need to listen to the recording to feel more of an effect. Some of the dimensions may be initially easier to access than others, but with a bit of practice you will be able to come into a centered, aligned body. This will make it easier for you to access your inner guidance and trust yourself.

Embodying these principles literally takes no extra time, just a quick shift of attention. 

Simply remember these words: Height/Width/Depth or Dignity/Belonging/Enoughness. For example, I attend a weekly networking group where we stand up and talk for a minute about the referrals we’d like to receive, and I often do this practice in the split second between standing up and giving my presentation.

The more you practice, the more you’ll be able to center yourself quickly and effortlessly in any situation. You can be walking the dog, cooking a meal, meeting with colleagues, driving the car, or even having a difficult conversation with your boss or partner or child. Eventually, you’ll be able to effortlessly come back to center no matter where you are.

Much love,

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