To say I’ve been busy lately is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful for the meaningful work I’m doing currently, I’m more excited than ever about the future and the possibilities it may hold. But my brain is full, and some days I feel like I pass from one zoom call to another zoom call and there is barely space to take a breath.
In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed an alarming trend too – I often forgo the yoga or pilates class and just keep working instead. Just get the proposal out. Finish the blog post. Hurry up, you can do it Shelley! Make that hamster in the wheel of your mind spin. Except it just won’t. The hamster feels punch drunk and lethargic. He’s had enough, packed his bags and moved to Puerto Vallarta. Adios!
Sound familiar? Hence the topic of this blog, the miracle of space.
Space is magical
Space is magical. It’s the place of inspiration, of creativity. Have you ever been struggling with something, a concept, a problem, and you get up to go to the bathroom or grab a cup of coffee? Then you walk back to your screen and boom – you have the answer! It’s not a coincidence. It’s not the fact that a magic genie lives in the bathroom. It’s the magic of space. Our brains need it to be creative, to innovate.
I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve had such a hard time coming up this week with a topic for this blog. When your head is full and tired, the ideas don’t really flow. I was starting to think of previous blog posts I could recycle, but my pride intervened. I can’t do that to you my dear readers…
Creativity Craves Space
I used to teach a course on creativity, which is slightly ironic considering I’ve never considered myself a particularly artistic or creative person. I used to hold up a paper clip or a shoehorn or some sort of everyday object in front of my group of participants. Then I’d ask folks to brainstorm as many uses for that item as they could in 5 minutes.
5 minutes may not sound like a long time, but sometimes it felt like forever when I was running this exercise. And I never shortened the time. The first minute or so, every obvious option for what to do with a paper clip got exhausted.
Then we’d typically sit in awkward silence for a minute or two. I never said much. I didn’t try to prod the group on. I didn’t tell them to hurry up. And then the ideas would start to flow again. But this time they were brilliant. They were the ideas that were way beyond the obvious. The real innovative ones. I’ve heard potential uses for the paper clip the likes of the world have never seen.
Where is the space in your day?
I sometimes do mentor coaching as well, the wise sage that I am. Mentor coaching is effectively coaching for coaches. (Yes, we need coaches too!). I often talk about the dangers of trying to cram too many clients into an overstuffed day. When you do that, you may think you’re being productive, but ultimately you can’t show up properly for your clients. Why? Because you can’t, as we coaches often like to say, “hold the space” properly for the client when you’re rushing from meeting to meeting. Your mind is on what happened in the last session, or the session that is yet to come. And our clients can tell the difference.
What might need to change in your world to allow for more space?
So what changes might you need to make to allow a bit more space into your overpacked day? Perhaps it’s blocking 15-20 minutes on the other side of important meeting to digest what was just said or prepare properly. Maybe it’s actually taking lunch this time instead of eating half cold Chinese takeout in front of the computer? Maybe it’s pushing your rear out the door to that yoga class, even if you wind up laying on the floor half the time. Yes, that last one was me today.
Shelley Pernot is a leadership and career coach who is passionate about helping her clients discover their strengths and talents and find a career that utilizes them. Reach out to me here for a free consultation to learn more about the coaching process and how it may benefit you!
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