The ability to step back, not get caught up in the fray, see the forest for the trees, is key for leaders in all capacities. When the chaos of an emergent crisis grabs everyone’s attention, it is so easy to jump in with both feet. All our attention gets pulled to the details of the events at hand, and with that, we so easily get pulled out of ourselves. This is especially true when we are making an important presentation. And, in fact, this particular skill is essential for all of us today given the current economic uncertainties that can so easily throw us off balance.
Ideally, it would be optimal if, in the midst of a crisis we could say “Time out!” and then physically step back from the situation to get a “10,000 foot view”. Most of the time we’re so caught up in what’s happening and don’t even remember that this might be a good strategy. But even when we’re aware enough to realize that this is something we ought to do, we don’t always have the luxury to do so – the timing might be wrong, someone might feel slighted, or the issue is too urgent and you need an answer NOW.
This morning my yoga teacher said, “Find the haven of the back body” as we were entering into a difficult posture. This got me thinking (maybe not what I should have been doing in yoga, but there you go…)! What if when we are confronted with all the difficulties that life presents us that take us off balance, what if in those moments, we simply pay attention to our spine, to what our backs are in contact with, to the space behind us? Wouldn’t that provide us with same psychological haven as physically stepping back? And, we could do it so easily without anyone even knowing!
I have often suggested to my speaking clients to include in their awareness the space behind them as they speak, and for some people this has been the key to diminishing their fear and anxiety around speaking to a group. But it occurred to me today that simply changing our awareness to focus on our spine, our back body and the space behind us could also provide a moment of respite (a haven, if you will) and a new perspective in difficult leadership situations as well as in life itself!