Creating a different space
April 26, 2011
Having spent the last year researching and developing the latest Emergency Happiness programme Lead Like A Human, I had the pleasure of talking to hundreds of different leaders from all walks of life. 99% of them spoke about the daily challenge of finding space within the craziness of their lives ‘to just breath and think’. In most cases they were referring to their own internal mental space, however, when I dug beneath the surface of this confession, very often its ripple spread outwards to include the need to find a ‘space to think’ within their teams, intimate relationships and within the organization for which they worked. Some of them even spoke about a burning desire to create a new space in which to innovate and connect with people on a global scale.
So what do they mean by ‘space’ and why does the creation of it appear to be such a difficult goal to achieve?
In my view there are three distinct types of space being eluded to here.
- Head space – our ability to slow the constant, high velocity flow of thoughts that race through our minds at a million miles an hour in order to take a calmer, more objective look at our lives. Some of our greatest insights and ideas come to us when we are relaxed and in a ‘flow’ state. (Mihay Chickimehay). Being able to create a calm, resourceful state in your head- space is essential to your health, growth and how often you smile.
- Team space – whether it’s the connection between two individuals or the bond between a group of people, for any relationship to be truly fulfilling, successful and long-lasting, it needs to be created in a space of true respect and commitment. This shared space needs to be created again and again for connected relationships to flourish. The most kick ass partnerships and highest performing teams are the ones who are constantly renewing their shared space of connection and purpose, respecting and enjoying each other’s evolving strengths and life journey’s.
- Collaborative space – As humans, some of our greatest achievements happen when we align our vision and work together towards a common goal. When we create a space between a group of people where creativity, authenticity and responsibility are the norms, then true collaboration shines through. Through creating a collaborative space, organisations can empower their people, innovate in their industry and create commitment to their company vision. Leaders who are able to create a collaborative space in any part of their lives tend to be those who create the most positive change for themselves and for those around them.
So we all know the theory, then why do we find it so hard – when immersed in our personal, work or social lives – to apply it?
How often have you continued an argument with your partner or a family member so you could ‘be right’ when you knew creating some head space would help you to renew your relationship team space from a different angle? At work have you ever pushed yourself and others to meet a deadline, failing to practice true respect for different points of view and sacrificing team moral in favour of on time completion? Perhaps a greater focus on team space would have led to an exceptional collaborative space and higher performance overall?
I have observed many people who ‘know’ (cognitively) that creating these spaces are important in order to create high levels of performance, success, and happiness in all areas of their lives and yet in the heat of the moment they didn’t know ‘how’ to choose to create them.
If you are finding that you lack quality ‘space’ in your life or the simply lack it full stop, then you might want to join us on the 1st Dec for our Lead Like A Human masterclass. Here we are bringing together leaders from various different backgrounds and industries to talk about how we can start to create more positive space in our heads, in our teams, in the organizations we work for and in society as a whole.