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Leadership requires awareness, mindfulness, and the ability to create and channel energy: both one’s own and the energy of others. The comforts of digital technology also create a sense of disconnect from ourselves and from the natural world. What happens when we reconnect to the physical self and the physical body? What wisdom is held there?

Fellows with ILEs on this theme explore power, balance, and presence through physical activities such as aikido or a multi-day trek. These experiences help them to better know their tolerance for exertion and discomfort, stretch beyond these limits, and push through challenges and obstacles.

Learning Goals:

  • Find inner calm, personal strength, and inner resolve amid chaos
  • Engage the physical body to explore innate power
  • Use instinctual impulses of aggression and aversion to peacefully engage with others
  • Engage and channel energy
  • Restore a connection to nature and the physical world
  • Go beyond perceived limits


  • A Fellow who aspires to strengthen their inner resolve to act with sharper focus and intentionality during high stakes initiatives will spend a week with two Learning Sherpas. With a leadership guru, they will deep dive into self-inquiry to sharpen clarity of their leadership vision. Then, they will engage in somatic exploration working with an Aikido Master, learning lessons of centeredness, awareness, and managing energy.
  • A Fellow who seeks to quiet their multi-tasking mind and elevate their focus beyond day-to-day demands will reset by connecting with nature and their physicality in a rigorous, multi-day bicycle trek, followed by coaching, to explore and push through perceived limitations.

This experience was about getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself further than I ever thought I could go. 110 miles of steep inclines and declines over 11 days was an incredible challenge. I learned to live in the present and face each challenge head on. Each mountain peak brought a sense of accomplishment beyond my imagination. – Karen Tan, Cohort VI

Photo of Jeff Mikulina and Chris Thorsen practicing Aikido techniques

Jeff Mikulina, Cohort VI, participates in an aikido lesson with Chris Thorsen during his ILE.