There are many discourses which explore how we show up in our body. Each has a slightly different approach but many explore the four basic body dispositions or styles, which we will examine in this and future blogs. As we start to explore how our bodies impact our leadership, a great place to begin is a discussion of a body that has been called the Joker, the Expressive, or the Flexible body. Regardless of what you call it, in this body we see the following:
Overall view of the world: This is the body of the creative, dreamers, inventors, adventurers, and those who are ready to try anything. This body allows one to take risks, to live in the spontaneity of the moment.
Moods and emotions: The flexibility of this body allows moods and emotions to readily manifest and be perceptible to others. Whether quick to anger, happiness, sadness, or joy, this body is ready and able to show the emotion to the world. When the emotion is negative, this body lets the world know that all is not well. It lets those nearby know that little is possible, and others feel its pain. When the mood or emotion is positive, this body radiates this to the world, allowing acceptance, boldness, fun, and possibility to flow.
How it manifests in the body: The body is loose and flexible, but there is an underlying intensity, a readiness for movement at any time based on the emotion that arises. Mobility in the face ranges from relaxed to intense, again related to the emotion that is revealed, and the eyes are scanning the horizon, acting as the scouts for the body. The mouth and is open and wide in wonder and exploration. In its base state the feet are not planted firmly on the ground, the knees are not locked; the legs are not trying to tie the body to the ground, but rather like springs, ready to move to action. The arms and hands are moving and balancing the body, keeping it in a state of spontaneity. The energy and movement of the body is dynamic and quickly accessible, prepared for whatever comes next.
The Mantra of this body: The mantra that arises in this body is, “Let’s try this,” or, “Whatever happens, we are ready to move with it.”
Where this body might serve or hinder you: The advantages to this body are that it allows you go with the flow, or against the flow, whatever you think or feel is necessary. This allows for creativity and exploration, and is great in new situations where the unknown is at hand and a spontaneous and creative approach will serve you. However, this body will be a challenge when faced with repetitive or rigidly prescribed tasks or situations where creativity is not needed or appreciated.
You can see how being the joker at work could many times be an asset – most people will find you fun, your emotional transparency refreshing, and your energy and creativity inspiring. But, too much of the joker can leave others doing the grunt work, cause resentment, too much drama, and harm your credibility as a leader.