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Transforming Leadership Through Somatic Coaching – Exclusive Interview With Nadia Rae Brackett

Nadia Rae Brackett is a traditionally trained therapist & nervous system coach for leaders and organizations. After working in both community mental health and private practice for four years, Nadia noticed a lack of focus on larger, systemic issues and wanted to fill the gap by shifting systems from the inside out through psychological and emotional well-being. She has since dedicated her time and energy to helping bring change to organizations through nervous system healing & soul-led leadership development. Nadia is the trusted guide for dozens of leaders and organizations around the world.

Image photo of Nadia Rae Brackett

Nadia Rae Brackett, Therapist & Nervous-System Based Leadership Coach


Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.


So many of us answer this question by talking about what we do for work, and I don’t want to do that this time, so let me shift gears a bit. As a human, I am always moving towards what makes me feel present, whether that’s my daily Pilates class or being in a deep conversation with another. While I live a very forward-facing and dynamic life through my work, I also am a lover of finding the beauty in the mundane and finding ease throughout my day. Wherever I can catch a moment of sunlight or drink a nice cup of tea, I take it. To me, life is about holding the tension of opposites and nourishing ourselves so that we can show up and make a difference in the world. I’m the person who you’ll catch me either traveling the world or curled up on my couch reading a good book, there is no in between! I care a lot about authenticity and feel like a forever student when it comes to practicing and embodying it, which I think is why I’ve always gotten the compliment that people just feel comfortable and safe to ‘just be’ around me. That is my goal in this lifetime, to simply BE more.


What sets your business apart from others in the same industry, and what unique value do you believe you bring to your customers?


As a traditionally trained therapist, we are taught how to focus on helping an individual ‘get better’ from symptoms they are experiencing that impede on their wellness. While this feels like one part of the equation, I always felt like something was missing. A lot of the symptoms that individuals struggle with were created and are perpetuated by systems that impose certain ways of being and functioning onto individuals. After being a therapist working in community mental health, I realized that so many of my colleagues were struggling with the very same things they were trying to help clients with financial instability, conditioning to prioritize work over their humanity, and constant overwhelm from the pressure of everyday life. I knew in my heart that focusing solely on the individual would only keep perpetuating this issue, so I pivoted the way I worked and began looking at how to create a healthier society for all.

 

I took my clinical training and wisdom from my years as a therapist and began asking bigger questions like who really benefits from the systems and why aren’t we doing something different? I began to work primarily with leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and others who share similar visions of shifting the way society functions and who yearn to be the change from the inside out. This is where I found my unique intersectionality of two once opposing fields: mental health and leadership.

 

In my opinion, a leader is not about what external position we hold or how much power we have over others, it’s our ability to move through our lives with consciousness and authenticity. In my work, I am shifting the way that leaders conceptualize success, helping people see that no matter the level of external success they have will never be enough if they don’t feel good in their own bodies or in the lives they live. To me, this is the most important mark of success there is.

 

Through my work as a somatic leadership coach, I am focused on helping people come home to themselves. If all the titles, accomplishments, and accolades disappeared, who would they be? How would they live? What would they focus their time and energy on? What lights their soul on fire? Asking these big questions is not something that’s common in the world of business. Historically, business has existed for one thing: profit. And while profit is a necessary aspect of business, it is not everything nor should be treated as such. When we spend all our time and energy focused on the bottom line, it strips us of our humanity and our authenticity.

 

In a world that has relied so heavily on external measures of success, helping people turn inward and develop a deeper connection with themselves is such a gift. What I see, time and time again, is that the more the leaders I work with are moving from authenticity, the more impact they have on the larger scale. The more they invest in the well-being of their employees, the more they encourage authenticity in the workplace, and the more they can tune into their bodies, their nervous systems, and their intuition to guide them.


If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be and why?

 

Helping shift the way we conceptualize leadership feels very important for where we are moving as a society. Leaders who are not doing the deeper, emotional work will no longer be able to sustain their roles because as a society, we are much more focused on mental health than we were even a decade ago. There was once (and unfortunately still is) stigma around mental health and emotional well-being, but if we’ve learned anything as a collective post-COVID, it is that our well-being and workplace roles are not mutually exclusive. The rates of burnout and unhappiness in the workplace have skyrocketed. In my coaching, we focus a lot on what’s happening internally: how do we feel, what sensations are alive in the body, what memories or images are they linked to, and how can we build the capacity to stay present to our bodies in each day. When we develop a relationship to what’s happening internally, we show up in our external lives better. I want to see leadership coaching to not just be so focused on the external but to see it embody more emotional wellness into its ethos.


Tell us about a pivotal moment in your life that brought you to where you are today.

 

Before I got my master’s in counseling psychology, I worked in the justice system and spent a lot of time with folks who had been or who were currently incarcerated. In 2016, I studied abroad in the Netherlands and was immersed in their criminal justice system, which is heavily focused on rehabilitation. It was in the Dutch prisons that I learned the term ‘somatics’, as there was a somatic practitioner on site that led relational building exercises every day with the inmates. I began going to the group that met for an hour every day, and I noticed a palpable shift not only in my individual nervous system but the collective nervous system of the prison. It was then that I realized the power of the body and connection to one another. Not many know this, but this experience is a huge reason that I am so somatically oriented as a therapist and leadership coach.


Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

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