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June 19, 2024

4 Ways to Regulate Your Nervous System for Enhanced Executive Presence

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4 Ways to Regulate Your Nervous System for Enhanced Executive Presence

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Executive presence is the ability to project confidence, credibility, and authority in any situation – but sometimes our nervous system gets in the way of our ability to show up this way.

For example, ever walked into a boardroom feeling like an imposter? Or found your mind going blank right when you need to deliver that killer presentation? You’re not alone. Let’s talk about how your nervous system might be hijacking your executive presence—and what you can do about it.

Nervous System Hijack #1. The Freeze Response

When faced with high-stakes situations, your body can go into “freeze” mode. Think of it as your brain hitting the panic button. This response can make you appear uncertain or less confident, even if you know your stuff inside out.

What to Do: Slow, deep breaths can help regulate your nervous system. Before stepping into the meeting, take a few moments to breathe deeply and center yourself.

Nervous System Hijack #2. The Fight Response

Ever found yourself getting defensive or overly aggressive in a meeting? That’s your nervous system in “fight” mode. While this might make you seem assertive, it often comes across as combative and can undermine your leadership.

What to Do: Practice active listening. Acknowledge the other person’s viewpoint before responding. This can help you stay calm and collected, even in heated discussions.

Nervous System Hijack #3. The Flight Response

Feeling the urge to avoid difficult conversations or dodge tough questions? That’s your nervous system’s “flight” response. It can make you seem evasive or unprepared, damaging your credibility.

What to Do: Ground yourself. Literally. Placing your feet firmly on the floor and feeling the ground beneath you can help you stay present and engaged. Bonus if you can get your bare feet into grass, sand, or earth.

Nervous System Hijack #4. The Fawn Response

The “fawn” response is a lesser-known but equally important reaction to stress. This refers to the tendency for people to quickly appease and please others in high-stress situations, often at the expense of their own needs and boundaries.

What to Do: Set boundaries. Get clear on the types of situations where you often over-extend yourself and/or your team’s boundaries, and then come up with a plan in advance for how you’ll say no next time.

Having a regulated nervous system isn’t just about feeling calm; it’s about showing up as your best, most authentic self which only boosts your executive presence.

Share how you regulate your nervous system throughout the workday in the comments below.

Need support showing up as a confident authority figure? Schedule a free coaching session with our founder, Natalie Underdown, Ph.D.

#Leadership #ExecutivePresence #Mindfulness #NervousSystem #BusinessTips #wholepersonexecutivecoach #executivecoach

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