In the video you can see me in Dubai’s Museum of the Future. I’m in the ‘HEAL Institute’ section which is focused on reconnecting with our senses. You walk, sit or lie on a touch-pad style carpet where light swirls around you in response to your movement.
It got me thinking about how we feel.
One of the standard questions a coach asks in response to a client’s comment is: how does that make you feel?
The question is a catalyst for an exploration of emotion, literally what moves you. It is intended to provoke a thinking through, a verbal articulation, so that the coachee can put the issue, whatever it may be, into perspective. As the filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard put it, ‘sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.’
What we feel about something is often a confusing maelstrom of emotions, anxieties, confused and confusing words, a dark forest where we feel lost. To put all that into perspective we need to tell a story, to give ourselves a path through the forest. John Berger, the art critic, said that ‘if every event which occurred could be given a name, there would be no need for stories.’
So we need stories about ourselves, to find ourselves and know who we are, so that we can then help others with their stories. As Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, wrote: ‘stories constitute the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal.’
If you want to lead, you have to know your own path out of the forest so as to lead others out of the forest.
How is me sitting on a carpet of swirling lights in a future-focused museum relevant to this?
It was teaching me how to reconnect with my senses, not through thought but through feeling.
Every time I shifted my position on the carpet, I created light patterns, which I could then influence so as to control the patterns. The patterns taught me how to channel a thought – what pattern do I want to create? – into a movement of my body. It taught me how to feel the connection between body and mind.
It taught me how to be light.
A good coach helps you to be whole, to reconnect thoughts and feelings, so that you can connect with others to lead them as you should.