We’re almost a quarter way through 2019 and I want to talk about the importance of allowing and holding space as a leader.
Allowing Space is an antidote to the extreme “busyness” I’m seeing people feel right now – from colleagues to clients to friends to leaders. Many people are just feeling so full of work, life, and “stuff” that it can lead to burn-out, overwhelm and stress – even when all the “busyness” is from good stuff!
Allowing Space means being present in the moment — for yourself, for your employees, for your team, for all those around you — to give pause and rest even if you are “too busy” so that your mind, body, and spirit can refresh and renew.
At these times, it might seem ridiculous and maybe even impossible to slow down and make space just “to be”. But, by “allowing space” for ourselves and for others, it allows us to open time and energy to be even more productive and successful.
Here are 4 Tips to Allow Space For Yourself and Those Around You:
- Pay attention to your breath
Can you even remember the last time you took a breathe because you have so much going on?
A slow, deep intentional breathe in-and-out resets our nervous system and helps release us from the flight-or-fight stress response.
One of my clients sets a an alarm a few times a day to remember to take some time to breathe. I have a wearable device called Spire that monitors my breathing throughout the day and notifies me with a buzz if I’m not breathing enough or taking shallow breaths.
A guided meditation is another quick way to slow down your breath. The application called Insight Timer (not invented by this InSight!) has a number of short guided meditations.
Breathing is one of the most powerful tools we have to allow ourselves sacred space.
- Meditate with your team
Once you’ve made that space for yourself, how about holding space for others by meditating or centering together?
In my Emotional Intelligence workshops, we often reference the role of your body in emotional intelligence and centering is one of the best ways to not only manage stress, but also to set yourself up for important tasks and conversations.
I have one client who started this with her team after one of our workshops and reports that her team loves it.
What would it look like to start each meeting with even just 2-minutes of centering?
- Get moving!
When I’m really busy and have a large session coming up or many emails to read and respond to, my first inclination is to sit in front of my computer and not get up until I catch up.
I’ve learned to not sit there for more than an hour and when I’m really stuck and busy, to get up and go for a walk, a bike ride, or a class at the gym.
While it seems that I’m putting off all the work that is piling up, I always come back with more ideas, more refreshed and work faster.
If you ever see me on a bike in the middle of the day, chances are I’m in deep brainstorming mode for a client session (as well as taking care of my health).
- Just listen
So many times as leaders, we think we need to have all the answers for our team, our boss and our customers.
As soon as someone comes to us with a question or we start a meeting, we are instantly trying to solve something.
Often, by simply listening and validating what another is saying, it can be the most valuable gift you can give another.
Paradoxically, it is also a gift for yourself as you’ve allowed yourself to slow down and let another be fully heard and in the spotlight.
One of my clients often repeats to the team in our sessions that listening is the most validating thing you can do for another human being. Perhaps you do have ideas on how they can be more efficient or solve their problem. In the spirit of allowing space, how can you just listen and validate several times throughout a busy week?
Do you have any tips for allowing space? Feel free to comment or share a link in the comments below!