“People need spaciousness the way a plant needs water. When you give it to them, they come back to life.”
This observation by a colleague during my time in Fiji last week has me thinking, yet again, about my big word for 2023 which is “spaciousness.” It’s a word that makes me exhale and drop my shoulders — and it’s everywhere.
While probably an example of what’s known as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, or the “frequency illusion” where you suddenly see something you’ve recently learned (or purchased!) all over the place, I’m going with it. Because it’s a result of selective attention — and I do want to be selective about where my attention goes.
In this case, it has me curious about pace. I am usually someone who wants to use people’s time very efficiently. (Have you noticed the name of my blog?!) I recognize that my facilitation and coaching work involves busy people, often volunteers, and I am conscious of never wasting their time. It’s probably why I talk so quickly!
But this well-meaning intent leads to an unhelpful pattern: I may not allow enough percolation time within or between sessions, and in doing so I forget that my highest value may not just be in holding space, but in creating and expanding it. Breathing room may be a more precious gift than efficient use of time, and one that ultimately allows people to “go slower to go faster.”
So, I’m rethinking my cadence of work and wondering how people will feel about taking more time to develop their personal or organizational strategies rather than less.
Does the idea of spaciousness make you edgy, or does it help you exhale?