In today’s episode, I’m joined by the brilliant Ella Zhang, who is a renowned change maker and executive coach. Ella has recently released her book Upgrade: How to Outperform Your Defaults and Gain Your Superpowers and in our conversation, Ella shares her insights on the concept of outperforming your default self in order to tap into your true potential.
In her work with organisations and individuals, Ella identifies self care as a critical aspect of personal and professional development, which includes understanding one’s patterns of thinking, behaving and acting. While many corporate leaders today would equate self care with physical health, Ella emphasises the importance of going beyond that and tuning in to our inner selves.
When it comes to facing a challenging situation, Ella encourages us to step back and ask ourselves questions to evaluate how we’re navigating it, such as: How is my body responding? How am I speaking to myself? What am I giving my attention to in this situation?
To help us begin our journey towards becoming stronger and more capable leaders, Ella shares three practical ways we can come back to the body and create the vital self-awareness that leads to positive change:
- Pay Attention to Your Thoughts: There can be a million different thoughts racing through our minds as we lead others, particularly when we’re faced with a challenging moment. Learning how to capture your thoughts and observe your thinking patterns can give you an understanding as to how you react, and in turn make decisions. Ella gives us some practical strategies on how to sit with our own thoughts and come to a better understanding of where and how we need to change.
- Become Aware of Physical Sensations: In the workplace, where intellect and technical know-how is often considered king, emotions are often viewed as roadblocks, and encouraged to be suppressed. This can lead to a disconnect between leaders and their team. Ella encourages leaders to notice how their body reacts during strong emotional moments, which can help in regulating emotions, improving emotional intelligence and building stronger relationships with their staff.
- Focus on Breathing: Ella emphasises the significance of breathing and its impact on stress and relaxation. Leaders often thrive in high-stress environments, but they need to balance stress with recovery. Controlled breathing techniques, like deep and rhythmic breathing, can help leaders manage stress effectively.
Ella’s wisdom on the mind-body connection and its benefits is truly eye-opening, and I know you’ll gain so much valuable insight on better understanding yourself as a leader, and in turn those you lead.
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