Clarity is not a mental process

I have been struggling with a lack of clarity the last months. That’s why I stopped writing.




I write when I have enough clarity about what matters to me and what to do about it. In this way, I avoid the pitfall of sharing knowledge without wisdom. Someone once said to me, "Knowledge is about answers; wisdom is about questions". There are enough people who know in this world, and often, it doesn’t help. When I am able to intuitively ask the questions that move me, I know it is time to put words to what emerges.


Usually, clarity emerges spontaneously. But this time, nothing happened. I was doing well enough in most areas of my life, but I lacked the quality of presence that informs me of what is important and how to orient my choices.


In my coaching practice, I have met many leaders experiencing the same lack of clarity:

  • Philip is still struggling to reinvent his business model after the difficulties of the pandemic. He has this uncomfortable feeling of living someone else's life and struggles to clarify the type of leader he aspires to be for his organisation.

  • Cathy led a large transformation in 2021 with the courage to face strong opposition. She shared with me her regret that she had not sufficiently integrated sustainability into her thinking. This broader perspective had simply not been available to her.

  • Paul worked day and night to save his business and employees from bankruptcy from March through October. He recently shared that he often forgot to play with his son when he got home.


I realised these leaders had one thing in common: they had disconnected from their body and tended to overthink the solutions to their problems. As they reverted to their usual thinking patterns to tackle new issues, they lost perspective on the real fight and how to make a real difference.


Clarity is not a mental process; it’s a physical one.


Under pressure, we gain clarity by reconnecting to the life energy of our body and allowing it to flow through us. We feel our physical sensations as they arise in us and, over time, as we learn to give space to these sensations, they inform us of what really matters. It’s extraordinarily simple and yet a very profound experience.

  • With time, as he progressively learns to feel his physical sensations, Philip has realised the connection between his tension in the chest and the fear of not being present enough for his grandchildren. This sensation has become a calling to run his business with a dual intent: financial wealth and sustainable value for the next three generations.

  • Beyond her coaching practice, Cathy started a daily practice of sitting on a wooden bench, listening to the birds “until it becomes pleasant”. She mentioned that there is a moment when her body stops fighting, her breath slows down, tensions are released, and she starts perceiving her environment much better.

  • Whatever the weather, Paul walks for 15 minutes around the corner each evening before entering the house. He learns to interrupt his pattern of running after life. Just before starting the walk, I invite him to pause, feel his own aliveness and consciously choose the right pace. At first, this frustrated him, but with the time, he has developed not only a greater ability to listen but also a more inspiring leadership presence.


Not being able to write an article is, for me, a good sign that I lack clarity about how to run my business. This is the time to create the space for that clarity to emerge. Many of us have our own practice and, at this holiday season, I wish for you to discover yours. For me, it’s often meditation, a centring practice, or a walk in the forest opening up and taking in the environment. I combine these mindful moments with in-depth conversations with my coach to anchor my perspectives and move in more appropriate directions. There will be no miracle, unfortunately. Depending on your context, it can take a minute or months to find clarity. But one thing is for certain: by reconnecting with your body, slowly but surely, you will find it.


So, these are my questions for you:

  • How do you know when you’re losing track of your life?

  • And then, what do you practice?

Here is the takeaway: choose a practice that brings you back to the essence of who you are. Ideally, one that reconnects you with your body and slows your mind. This is a powerful way to broaden your perspective and find your own answer about how to deal with the complexity of your business.


With gratitude,

Manu



Manu Henrard is a Executive Somatic Coach and an Executive Recruiter based in Brussels. He is also an associate from the Strozzi Institute for embodied leadership. Manu's professional commitment is to help leaders increase lasting impact and achieve inner peace. More about his coaching program here.