Leadership is a spiritual act

where we have the opportunity to act in accordance with our deepest values

Leadership is a spiritual act, where we have the opportunity to act in accordance with our deepest values. That requires us to develop skills in intuiting wisdom and in navigating among the voices around us. As a martial artist, I have over 25 years’ study of the body’s role in finding the right thing to do, and doing it efficiently.

I started this work after noticing how different I felt when studying the martial art of Aikido compared to practising my job: my enthusiasm was boundless, I was joyful, and I could bear the pain of being overwhelmed. It dawned that this was a felt-sense that I could feel wherever I chose, if I made the same physical adjustments to my body. By changing my posture, I could change my attitude, and recover the sense of ease, compassion, and direction that I experienced on the mat.

The aikido dojo is where I receive my lessons; the rest of my life is where I learn those lessons. Working in a variety of professional areas – including social care, higher education and I.T. – has given me plenty of experience of (i) conflict, (ii) negotiations, and (iii) the transformative power of a leadership presence.

Based in the Highlands of Scotland, I work in partnership with the landscape and the weather – encouraging my clients to allow those influences into their experiences, and to percolate through to the way they think and work.

When I work with musicians, we may walk with an ear for the rhythms of our walking and talking; with parents, we may study the limits of parental authority more directly in our play. With small-business owners, who often have to make rapid decisions, I work in near-silence in order to encourage a deeper level of processing and self-listening.

I have also worked in partnership on a number of leadership and coaching projects, as well as building community for students of embodied leadership.

And now for a little poetry: John O'Donohue’s Blessing for Leaders …

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