Space is the New Frontier

Announcing My 2021 Word of the Year!

I’m always so excited around this time of year as I prepare to unveil my brand-new Word of the Year. Well, the word has been chosen, and the synchronicity continues: Not only has this word begun popping into the daily sound bites of my mind, but as with Dorothy, it’s been in my own backyard the entire time. This word and I have been sharing space since my teenage years, for the word, indeed, is SPACE.

Space plays a role in all parts of our lives, and yet, the concept has been secretly occupying space in front of me for years. It all started with my high school friend Karen and the wisdom of her father, Mr. Marsico. Karen and I were editing our school newspaper at 2am on a Sunday night. With the draft due at the printer in a mere 3 hours, we found ourselves in a pickle: We didn’t have enough content to fill out the paper. Or so it seemed.

In a collective exhausted panic, we tapped Mr. Marsico for advice. He revealed to us the concept of negative white space, convincing us that we needn’t cram content onto a page. Perhaps that empty space we were so concerned about, once evenly distributed, was needed to balance the look of the publication. A revelation, for sure. And a welcomed one.

Various outlooks on “Space” have been surfacing in the decades since. And this year I get to explore them all more deeply, including how Space can be used strategically within myself, with my clients, and within my network (that’s you!). Let’s explore.

Carving Out Headspace

Intentionally creating Space— physically, literally, figuratively and rhetorically, is fundamental to my coaching toolbox. It guides how I show up for sessions to best help clients achieve their self-determined versions of success. After all, success takes time: protected time to plan, work, reflect and then repeat. And besides having the physical time to iterate, this requires addressing the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving that successful vision.

Take a minute to think about the current challenges you face in attaining your version of success. Is it “not enough time”? Money? Energy? Well, sometimes there is a correct answer, and none of these qualify!

The challenge actually lives between your two ears. It’s your brain. And that’s another Space that requires attention. It’s called Headspace! Talk about a place that enters my mind perpetually these days. Not only do I work with clients to maintain a strategic and aligned mindset, but we also focus on building their mindfulness muscles. As you can see, Headspace is always at top of mind!

Headspace is also connected to my heart— literally! That’s right. Thanks to the ever-evolving technology of fMRI machines, we’re learning more about how the head, heart and gut are in perpetual energetic conversations. It may come off as new-agey that what’s in your “heart” (your emotions) directly affect your actions, but it is indeed the case. What we feel in our hearts correlates to our behaviors. When we address our emotions head-on, we annihilate the roadblocks to our aspirational lives. Vincent Van Gogh, once again, gets to assert his wisdom here:

“Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the captains of our lives, and we obey them without realizing it.”

Embrace Space

As soon as DRIVEN’s coaching clients gain a clear vision of how they want their lives to look and feel, and acquire the tools to protect their Space, both on their calendars in their heads, they are ready to fill and embrace that Space with confidence. Stretching out of one’s comfort zone is essential for growth, but challenging self-imposed boundaries takes courage. Here’s another experiment:

Close your eyes and think of a time when you felt courageous and confident. Bring your mind’s eye to the episode or scene. Play it out. Now, notice how your body is feeling. Are you sitting up straighter? Taking up more Space? Voila!

But wait! Here’s another dimension of Space hiding plainly in sight. As a DEI facilitator and trainer, providing the Space in which people, teams and organizations can feel safe is an essential part of my responsibility. As we have learned, psychological safety is imperative for the courageous conversations that lead to inclusion and diversity.

Just as breathing is an essential part of life, Space is also essential to living. Consider this analogy: In order to have a roaring fire, you need to stack the logs in a manner that allows air between them. Space matters! And the way we create Space in our lives affects our lives.

Throughout 2021, I’ll be exploring different dimensions of Space each month. My aspiration is to share my findings along with client progress and colleagues’ wisdom, work and insights about Space. Care to join me on this journey?

-Send your thoughts, comments, epiphanies, and experiences to [email protected]

-Sign up for DRIVEN’s distribution list for a weekly informative, inspirational and thought-provoking message.

Let our Space Exploration begin!

Related: Reevaluate Your Communication Practices with Colleagues NOW!