Awakening authentic leadership, movement, guidance and navigation

Posted on January 19, 2017
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“Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement”

Alfred Adler 

   Leadership, movement and navigation

Up and till now a leader like, now inaugurated, President Donald Trump, has kept the world on its toes while speculations about the direction he will take, continue. It is as if the world is waiting for a sign – a clear signal – that will indicate the direction the United States will take – thereby influencing the direction of the global community.

The question is: What is the navigational force behind Pres. Donald Trump’s thoughts and actions? What about other leaders? At the moment – only time will tell …


Understanding the mechanisms, processes and importance of valid guidance, movement, navigation and authentic leadership at this point in time – cannot be under-estimated.


Movement is the pulse of life – without movement we die. When we aim to guarantee quality living, we need to guarantee the quality of our movements. We move in various ways – we can run, walk, hop, skip, jump and dance to the rhythm of life. Albert Einstein wrote:

 “Dancers are the athletes of God”

To live fulfilling lives of health, wealth and abundance, we need to find the rhythm of life, hear the beat, listen to the music, and find the cue to partake or sit out from the dance – only to hear the cue and enter again. We move physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually in different forms and different ways, but according to an unknown author:

“Only the wise can dance the rhythm of life”

If movement secures a quality of life, the next questions come to the fore: What kind of movement will secure a quality of life in the future? Where are we going? How do we determine and navigate the direction? What kind of leader will take us in the right direction? What should we know, and what should we do?

Leadership and movement

Leadership is synonymous with movement, change and guidance. Movement, and therefore guidance and leadership, are in essence a natural part of life. We find movement, migration and leadership as a natural phenomenon within our animal and human existence. Everything is already encoded into our nature, as part of being human. All we need to do is to rediscover what we already inherently have, broaden our awareness, and connect at a higher level of consciousness. The challenge is to take back what we forgot we have. Leadership development is all about remembering who we are, and living it to the full. Where leadership is concerned, we do not need to reinvent the wheel!  We already have a blueprint encoded as DNA – more specific – New Leadership DNA.

The questions are:  What about our natural ability to move, migrate, navigate and change for the better of all?  What can we learn from nature about navigation and movement?

Migration, navigation and guidance in nature

Animal migration and navigation are part of recorded ancient history. Records of bird migration were made 3000 years ago by Herodotus and Aristotle, while religious books also note migrations. Animal navigation is the ability of many animals to find their way accurately without maps or instruments, and migration is usually marked by its annual seasonality. Many animal species, such as the swallow, insects such as the monarch butterfly, and fish such as the salmon, regularly migrate thousands of miles to and from their breeding grounds, while many other species navigate effectively over shorter distances[ii]. Below we find a map of the most important bird migration routes[iii]

Global bird migration routes

The primary physiological cue for migration is changes in the light intensity or day length. These changes are also related to hormonal changes in birds. Navigation is based on a variety of senses. Many birds have been shown to use a sun compass. Navigation has also been shown to be based on a combination of other abilities, including the ability to detect magnetic fields (magnetoception), using visual landmarks as well as olfactory cues.
The ability to successfully perform long-distance migrations, can probably only be fully explained with an accounting for the cognitive ability of the birds to recognise habitats and form mental maps. It has been found that there is a strong genetic component to migration, in terms of timing and route. Migratory birds may use two electromagnetic tools to find their destinations: one that is innate, and another that relies on experience. A young bird on its first migration flies in the correct direction according to the Earth’s magnetic field, but does not know how far the journey will be. It does this through a radical pair mechanism, whereby chemical reactions in special photo pigments, are sensitive to long wavelengths that are affected by the magnetic field.

At this stage, the bird is similar to a boy scout with a compass but no map, until it grows accustomed to the journey and can put its other faculties to use, while experience teaches them to identify various landmarks. This ‘mapping’ is done by magnetites in the nervous system, which tell the bird how strong the field is.

Animals also use a combination of mechanisms, including the use of visual, olfactory, and magnetic cues to orient themselves, and navigate effectively[iv]. These navigation mechanisms include:

More recent research has found a neural connection between the eyes and “Cluster N”, the part of the forebrain that is active during migrational orientation, suggesting that birds may actually be able to see the magnetic field of the Earth.

This frontal part of the brain with its neural connections, resemble the ‘guide spot’ in the frontal lobes in humans. This we can call the ‘miracle in the middle’ as this part also lights up and ‘shows the way’[v].

We will focus on the role that frontal-lobe functioning and ‘mind wellness’ play in leadership, navigation  and guidance in our next post. In the meantime, you can find more information in chapters 7 and 8 of the book New Leadership DNA. Developing enlightened leaders. 

Till next time

Stay connected

Brenda Hattingh      

Brenda Hattingh

An international leadership coach, inspirational speaker and author with a passion for progress, success and quality living while addressing the challenges of the future.

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[i]    See: Hattingh, Brenda. (2012 c). New Leadership DNA. Developing enlightened leaders. Currency Communications: Johannesburg. Chapter 3.

[ii]    Hugh Dingle and V. Alistair Drake 2007. What is migration? BioScience 57: 113–121.

[iii]    See website:

[iv]    See:

[v]    Semendeferi K, Damasio H, Frank R, Van Hoesen GW. 1997. The evolution of the frontal lobes: a volumetric analysis based on three-dimensional reconstructions of magnetic resonance scans of human and ape brains. J. Hum Evol. April:32(4):375-88.

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