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The Power is in the Space

Posted by David A. Couper, MA on June 12, 2014 12:30 PM

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I just hung up the phone with a client who said these words to me (nearly shouted them, in fact): “The power is in the space!” You see, one of the reasons she hired me as her coach was because her frenetic schedule and stress level had landed her in the hospital not long before our first meeting. She then went on to say, “This is big. This will change everything.”

The power is in the space? How can that be? Space is full of…well…nothing. How could there be power in nothing? Her old paradigm made much more sense. It told her that busyness is power, doing is power, more is power. There was only one problem; this old way of being was killing her.

Chronic busyness has become an accepted way of life. Our business and personal demands have our calendars busting at the seams. When we do have a spare moment, we find ourselves twiddling our smart phones. Space is the enemy, space is lazy, space is wasteful. Or is it?

I had my own aha moment with this issue after the company I’d helped to build, sold. The integration was difficult and there was constant demand to do more with less. My available work hours were the same yet my workload had grown exponentially. My to-do list was a mile long, I always felt behind, and in my attempt to do everything, I did nothing well. I was a quality-minded employee, so knowing I was doing sub-standard work only made matters worse.

I saw that my experience was just a microcosm of the larger whole. The entire company was scrambling. New initiative after new initiative. Changing course before anything could be finished and measured for efficacy. Instead of creating success, this culture of busyness created burnout, high turnover, and a marked decrease in sales and profit.

What’s the alternative? Slowing down. Doing fewer things better. In short, creating space.

Creating space allows greater:

  • Alignment: leveraging time and space to get everyone on the same page
  • Presence: being fully engaged in an activity creates depth of understanding
  • Wisdom: having think-time allows for brilliant ideas and miraculous solutions to reveal themselves
  • Efficiency: avoiding mistakes, re-dos, and unintended consequences caused by just skimming the surface
  • Rest: recharging fosters retention, creativity, productivity and health
  • Results: aligned, present, wise, efficient and rested employees are able to create stellar results

Indeed, the power is in the space—your power and your organization’s power. Try it. Slow down. You just might be able to move faster.

Laura Dewey MA, Executive Coach with David Couper Consulting and founder of Laura Dewey Coaching, LLC

Photo via Flickr

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