Embracing Liminal Space: A Courageous Pathway to Growth

White walls and doorway between two rooms to illustrate the topic of liminal space

In our fast-paced world, we often seek clarity and direction, but what about those moments when we find ourselves in a state of transition – the in-between phases of life? This is what we call ‘liminal space’, a concept that, if embraced, can transform our lives and lead to significant personal growth.

Understanding Liminal Space

Liminal space refers to a time of transition, a season of waiting and not knowing. This term originates from the Latin word ‘limen’, meaning ‘threshold’. It’s like standing at the doorway between two distinct areas, not fully in one place nor the other. These are the times when old structures or routines break down, and new ones have not yet formed.

Liminality can be unsettling because it challenges our sense of identity and certainty. It could be the time after graduation but before starting a career, the period following a relationship breakup, moving from one city to another or the phase when considering a significant life change.

Recognize You Are in a Liminal Space

Identifying you’re in a liminal space is the first step towards using it effectively. Signs include feelings of uncertainty, questioning life choices, or a sense of waiting for something to happen. You might feel disconnected from your old self but not yet connected to what’s next. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings without judgment- and to even welcome them. 

Using Liminal Space Productively

  • Embrace the Uncertainty
    • Liminal spaces offer unique opportunities for reflection and growth. Embrace the uncertainty and use this time to reassess your values, dreams, and goals. It’s a rare chance to ask yourself, “What do I really want from life?”
  • Practice Mindfulness and Patience
    • This period can teach patience and the art of living in the moment. Mindfulness practices like meditation can help you stay grounded and calm during times of transition.
  • Journaling and Creative Expression
    • Expressing your thoughts through journaling, art, or music can be therapeutic. It helps process emotions and can lead to surprising insights about your future path.
  • Explore New Possibilities
    • The fluidity of liminal space allows for exploration. Try new hobbies, travel, volunteer, or take short courses. These activities can provide clarity and may even open new doors.
  • Seek Support and Share Experiences
    • Talking with friends, joining support groups, or working with a coach can provide comfort and guidance. Sharing your experiences with others who are also in transitional phases can be incredibly validating and enlightening. Your Support Circles can really come into play here. 
  • Avoid Rushing to Fill the Void
    • While it’s tempting to rush into the next phase, remember that growth often happens in the waiting. Avoid making hasty decisions just to escape discomfort. See it instead as a time to mine riches – even if they may not be visible to you yet. Make it a practice in BELIEVING! 

The Courage to Grow

Liminal spaces require courage. They ask us to surrender control and embrace the unknown. However, these periods can be deeply rich in lessons and personal development. By recognizing and valuing these in-between times, we can transform our approach to life’s transitions, seeing them not as obstacles but as pathways to growth and self-discovery.

Liminal spaces are both challenging and enriching. They offer a unique perspective on life and an opportunity to realign with our true selves. Remember that this journey, though uncertain, can lead to profound growth and fulfillment.

If you’re navigating a liminal space and seeking guidance or support, let’s talk.  

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The August Advantage for Year-End Success

Big sky over the flat ocean

Unlock the August advantage for year-end success during the relative pause offered by this month. Transitioning from beach to business post Labor Day may feel like a jolt, especially as the year-end’s hustle and bustle starts with September’s arrival. But though your mind may still be basking in summer’s relaxed rhythm, believe it or not, that’s the perfect state for cultivating game-changing insights! Let’s turn this laid-back mindset into a platform for innovative thinking. 

You may say you’re so not ready for that right now.  For most,  our heads are fully into summer relaxation and play mode. But that is the exact mindset for the richest, most innovative thinking to be done! To help you, I’ve made a guide of questions you can answer with coffee one morning, or ponder while biking, walking or paddling, sunning, gardening, or washing the car or dishes. You can record notes on your phone as you go, or sit down to jot down notes after reflection. Just take a look, and you’ll see what I mean. 

REFLECTIVE THINKING

Think back to January 1, when you had the entire year ahead of you. Remember the goals you laid out?  It’s essential to recognize your progress and how you’ve developed, as well as seeing what popped up that added new goals or may have taken things in an entirely different direction. 

  1. What achievements can you celebrate thus far? What were the wins, big or small, you’ve had in the last 8 months?
  2. What unforeseen events shook your world? What surprises, hurdles, or new openings altered your personal and professional path?  Did any leave an indelible mark on you? 
  3. Reflect on the episodes, exchanges, or instances that have deeply resonated with you. These can be poignant dialogues, breakthroughs, or lessons.
  4. How are you spending your time? Take stock of your current pursuits and duties. Pinpoint the assignments, ventures, or actions that have engaged most of your resources and attention recently. It’s very grounding.
  5. Where do you yearn for more clarity or knowledge? Becoming aware of this is most valuable.

FUTURE THINKING

This is where you look ahead to how you want to wisely use what will be left of the year – because by August, we are well into the 3rd quarter and Q4 can fly.

  1. What will make this year look like success to you?  What is left to do? This will function as your north star, directing your actions and choices in the future.
  2. What elements will lead to a memorable Q4? Investigate the factors that can lead you on an enriching, meaningful path in the coming months (A hint is to synchronize your pursuits with your principles and ambitions). 
  3. Who may provide the most assistance to you? Pinpoint the people in your support circles who hold the expertise, insights, or means to bolster your objectives. Nurture those impactful relationships.
  4. Flesh out #5 above, where you identified where you wanted to be clearer or gain more knowledge. What can you do in answer to those?

SUPPORT THINKING

You can go deeper with these questions by discussing them with friends, your peers in other or similar professions, or colleagues. 

  1. Who would you be interested in joining forces with? Think about potential partners, be it workmates, acquaintances, or advisors. 
  2. What do you need your colleagues to know? Consider the information, insights, or support you require from your teammates or coworkers, and name your needs to enhance collaboration and productivity (Communicating your needs actually fosters a more effective work environment).
  3. Are there any talks you need to have with your principle or partners to make them aware of what you may have come up with as you thought this through?

After reaping August’s potential yourself, this is a great exercise to do in September with your team or staff to help them transition productively. They’ll get a fresh focus on goals and priorities both personally and aligned with yours or the company’s to bring in a strong and fulfilling year-end succcess across the board! 

However, this moment is your secret weapon to jumpstart your journey towards year-end success, taking advantage of August’s serene ambiance to reflect and prepare. If you’d like help expanding on these questions and insights, setting clear intentions, and laying out a solid path for the rest of the year, contact me and let’s have a conversation. 

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5 Tips to Build your Leadership Skills This Summer

Do you realize you can build your leadership skills this summer by relaxing, opening your senses and having fun? And with all going on in the world, if you’ve been feeling like Atlas holding everything up at work, the winning combination may be exactly what you need. 

If you are uninspired, in a rut from the push of meeting goals and deadlines, a little burnt out, or just plain unhappy, it can definitely affect your coworkers and clients.  Whatever your situation, it’s very likely it is trickling down to your staff too. What you bring in terms of energy and attitude can shift the room. As a leader, that is a powerful opportunity to change not just your own experience at work, but for all those who work with and for you! 

All it takes is saying YES to creating a shift. For that yes to work its magic in you, here are five ways to build your leadership skills this summer (and bonus: it will make the season more enjoyable for you too).

TAKE OFF

The quickest way to gain new perspective and fresh energy is to take some time off. It is summer after all, so if you have the ability to take vacation time – do. The key is to not make it all about catching up on everything you had on your home to-do list. Though that can take a weight off your shoulders and make you feel lighter, it can also be endless, as one thing leads to more. 

My suggestion is to create the space in your life to read or look at art, discover new music, or hike someplace new, – anything that will bring expansion on another level. And with it, new ideas – preferably ones that have nothing to do with your business – will come. Last month I wrote about how creativity enhances your ability to lead.  If you can’t spare a whole week off right now, try taking 2 Fridays or Mondays off this month and use that business day for the business of developing YOU. 

TUNE IN

We use our rational brain most of the time in business. But as leadership models continue to morph from the top down style of management to putting staff needs and communication first, now would be a great time to cultivate the other resources you have inside you to apply: Your inner instincts. As a starting point, you may want to reread my posts on the Three Brains of Intelligence, especially on Heart Intelligence, which is more about the person leading than it is about that professional title, and listening to your gut, which is more nuanced than girding up and having guts… You may want to check out a few articles on the topic, or see if there are audio books you can listen to while biking or gardening.

PLAN FOR CONNECTION  

Be thinking of how you can utilize August to connect with and build your team. There are many ways to do that, so devote some solitude time in a hammock or chaise to who you feel is in need and what some of the problems may be. Sketch out a list over coffee one morning, and then come back to read here in August, because that’s what next month’s blog is about. You’ll find several solid suggestions for you to get you started.  

LOOK TO FALL 

Labor Day will come all too fast, and within mere weeks, we’ll have to pull our focus back to work and life responsibilities. It’s tough to think about when summer’s in full swing, but it’s an ideal time to get a jump on Q4. For awhile there, we were unsure what we’d be met with day by day, so it’s a relief that things are getting back to the point where you can at least do some near-term forecasting again.  

Whatever your business, almost all need some kind of longer view. I marvel at the fact that whatever you even loosely write down on paper finds its way to becoming a reality. So while sitting in your pool floatie, mowing the lawn or strolling at the golden hour, let thoughts come. And/or take one morning to create a no-interruptions hour (texts silenced, email shut down, wifi off) somewhere you can have quiet and privacy (sign on the door!) to write down what comes up. After that, you’ll find new ideas or details pop up right in the middle of waterskiing, or plucking tomato suckers! Write those down too. Or speak them into your voice memo on your phone – and use the time you set to transpose it.

LEARN SOMETHING NEW

For most businesses, things slow a little during the summer. Take advantage of that to try out some new software or research something that has needed a deep dive attention. It can be finally figuring out Spotify, or how to edit your videos, or it could be to familiarize yourself with a business tool or to actually take the tutorial for the upgrade your computer just did. Total win/win!

Whatever it is that you do, the bonus here is to not bury yourself all summer. It’s been a rough couple of years. Don’t undervalue refreshing yourself and taking space for adjusting and contemplating all that’s happened, and where it has you and your role now. Self care is akin to career care. Everyone will benefit. 

I find it exciting to help people to build their leadership skills, consciousness and access to their inner wisdom as they make decisions and carve out new paths for themselves. Please Contact Me if you’d like to work with these or want different ways to grow your leadership skills this summer!

The Time is Ripe for Getting Clear on Priorities

Trail-Newburyport-Fall-Leaves

As this year is fast coming to a close, the time is ripe for getting clear on priorities. The holidays ahead will bring a lot of joy and add to your already full days. But it also is a really great time to reflect, looking back and then forward to the coming fresh new year.

In today’s tumultuous world, we’re wise to look for any window of respite we can find. You may be thinking that November isn’t a typical time of new beginnings… but it can be. Now is a great time to begin looking ahead to the coming year, and sketch out some goals – both personal and professional.

You may be thinking: Sounds nice, but how do I do that?

I’ve put together a two-part Quarterly Planning Primer to get you started! This is not the average to-do list or work forecast plan. It’s a different approach, based on how we all have changed over the last 20 months. My Primer begins by clarifying what matters most to you this month. Then, my December blog will cover how you can incorporate your priorities regularly, by breaking the year ahead into manageable blocks of time.

This is where we are evolving to, and we need the tools to take us to the top of our game, both in the present and into the future.

IDENTIFY YOUR PRIORITIES

We start with identifying what you value, personally and professionally. It’s good to write this down in a way you can keep it to return to as things shift or are accomplished.

Name the top 5 of these:

  • What you most value
  • People/groups that mean most to you
  • What want to spend your time doing
  • What makes you happy, whether big or small

Now name these top 5:

  • Personal goals at work
  • Goals expected of you at work
  • Rewards from your work
  • Biggest work challenges

If you want to continue along these lines of discovery, I think you’ll find my May blog, How to Transition Toward Your New Work/Life Balance, interesting.

 ASK YOUR HEART AND GUT

I wrote about Heart Intelligence and Gut Intelligence  in my blog series earlier this year. They are super-skills. Science is finding Heart and Gut Intelligence to be as real and calculable as our brain function. We know those times we’ve ignored our body’s cues. The key is to combine what all three have to offer in all aspects of your life.

So look at your answers again, this time tuning in to your body’s signals. How much really feels right? Can’t tell exactly? Here’s a clue: when you read each, do you find you feel happy? Frustrated or discouraged? A little tense somewhere (your throat or jaw, hands or chest)? Tired? Grounded? Ask if your answers are based on what’s expected of you, or what you ‘should’ want, rather than what you really want.

This is just applying a different layer of perspective, to make sure your heart and gut intelligence was involved, not just your head. After looking at it this way, is there anything you’d adapt or change on your lists? Go ahead and do that.

FANTASTIC! Now you have a lot of authentic information to apply.

THE BIG PICTURE 

Now you have a grasp on your PRIORITIES about what makes you happy and what is more obligatory. The big picture focuses on what you truly want in order to actively be pursuing it. So let’s boil it down even more.

What would you love to say you’d accomplished, both personally and professionally, if you could project yourself to 12 months from now?

Answer in three areas, keeping it to 1-2 items each:

  • Work:
  • Self-care:
  • Family/Friends/Love life:

Now, look at the answers using your gut and heart intelligence. What do you feel when you look these over? Do they ring true to you? If not, revisit them and do your best to tweak them. No need to get hung up here, but to begin using these new tools to root out your highest good.

This exercise has narrowed down your most important GOALS for the year ahead!

Now you know your priorities, based on your values, and have formed a short list of the most meaningful goals for yourself, at work, and with family and friends!

In December’s blog, we will talk about planning – how you create the path to these goals and intentionally work toward them each month. Sounds great, you may say, if I only had more time.  We’ll cover that too! We can make time for what’s important if we stop giving it away to what’s not.

It is a a really positive turning point. If you want support for your planning process, I am here to help. It’s easy to reach out to me for a chat and see what can happen! 

How To Transition Toward Your New Work-Life Balance

Salisbury Rail Trail

You may be wondering how to transition toward your new work-life balance, as mandates relax and many advance through opening phases. What will that look like? And how do you get from here to there?

What a year! While the US may be starting to emerge after dealing with a mysterious and confusing pandemic, other countries are in the throes, while some are virtually Covid-free… but all it takes is a glance at the news to know what’s happening around the globe, and that affects us all.

START WITH WHERE YOU ARE

It’s been stressful for everyone. There have been countless articles and TV specials covering ever-changing medical updates, how to keep fit, handle holidays, look good online and even open your mail! As we begin to surface from it all, many find ourselves exhausted, grappling with various comfort levels, and navigating a new frontier while earning a living. Many have worked all through the lockdowns – trying to stay afloat in a local business or Zooming at home at makeshift desks alongside kids and pets.

How do you process the strong desire to connect while respecting your (and others) concerns and normalize fears when Covid isn’t gone yet? It’s not the same world, so we won’t be going back to the same office. Not all of our co-workers may return. Our favorite place for lunch may be closed. There will be different routines developed and continually evolving hybrids.

It’s A LOT of adjustment.

Many of us are afraid to go back. Some are chomping at the bit. Others want to retire or do something entirely different. How do we navigate all that with intention, thoughtfulness and grace? It all depends on where you’re at.

FIVE QUESTIONS

Here are some questions to ask yourself to find out. Find a quiet time when fresh with a nice cup of something, and take these at your own pace.

1. What did you learn from experiencing this pandemic?

    • What did you discover is important to you?
    • What have you learned you can live without?

2. What benefits or hidden blessings did you experience?

3.What do you hope to remember about this time of global shutdown?

4. What parts of quarantine life, and practices do you want to keep?

5. What support do you need moving forward?

    • What would that look like?
    • Who and what can help?

It may take some time to find the answers, but they are in you… and they are crucial to explore. I invite you to take this opportunity to review what you want – and don’t — and get some clarity around that which you don’t want to lose sight of as you ease back.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

It’s one thing to orchestrate the answers in your personal life, but how do you do that at work? Whether you’re in charge or report to someone, the company is figuring it out too. Here’s some thoughts:

  • What are your options for a phased in approach at the company?
  • Are they considering a hybrid or rotational work model?
  • What do you need to do to feel comfortable in terms of a clean workplace, the ability to mask or distance while at work?
  • How do you open up lines of communications, for employees, co-workers and employers?
What we all have in common is the place to start. ~ Doris Roach

A lot of that communication needs to happen. Degrees of comfort will vary as much as each individual.  Some feel a vaccine is a free pass, some are still wearing double masks and scared, and many are in between, perhaps taking care of a high risk person at home. The good news is, everyone is in the same boat when it comes to adjusting at work. What we all have in common is the place to start.

Whether you must return soon, have been working all through this, or aren’t sure what’s next, these questions will move you into new thinking that will come in handy. If don’t have the luxury of finding a window of free time to sit with these questions, you can still mull them over when you’re commuting, on break, showering, mowing the lawn or walking the dog!  Give yourself permission to think a new work-life balance through internally. Take one at a time, read more on the topic, talk to others. All will create a shift, even if subtly, and answers will come.

I am one of those people you can talk to, especially if you are struggling or want guidance in going deeper. Contact me and let’s talk about what you need! I’m here to help.

Harness the Three Brains of Leadership

Harness the Three Brains of Leadership

To be an effective leader in today’s climate of challenge and change, harness the Three Brains of leadership — not just the one in your head, but the ones found in your gut and your heart. If you rely solely on using your head, you’re leaving these two other vital resources untapped.

 

Three Brains?

A wealth of neurological evidence is emerging, pointing to each of us having three “brains” — the intelligence found in our head, but also in our gut (the enteric brain) and heart (the cardiac brain). All are innate and at work 24/7, whether you utilize their messages or not. My goal with this series is to introduce you to the findings from these scientific studies as an exciting new way of operating in your work and life, and to help you to develop it.

Head Intelligence

My series started with The Role of Heart Intelligence in Leadership followed by How to Listen to Your Gut. I deliberately saved Head Intelligence for last as it’s the most familiar to us all.

Our head is constantly taking in and processing information in order to make decisions. We rely on this as our primary source of information. It also governs things that are so automatic we don’t even notice, ie: our breathing, heart beat, fighting infection, etc. Amazing that we carry on, largely unaware of the very things that are at work moment by moment, even the ones that are literally keeping us alive!

Heart and Gut Intelligence

Similarly, our heart and gut are also taking in information and communicating to us. They can serve us greatly, if we only tuned in! We’d have much more information at our disposal about people, projects and situations from which to pick and choose, apply or reserve.

The ability to do this is showing up as a key quality to carry leadership forward in a demanding world. Much is beginning to be written about this, for example, this article by Grant Soosalu and Marvin Oka:  In it they say, “A new field of leadership development is emerging, known as mBIT (multiple brain integration techniques). It provides organizational leaders with practical methods for aligning and integrating their head, heart and gut brains for increased levels of emergent wisdom in their decision-making, and for developing an expanded core identity as an authentic leader.”

Integrate Your Three Brains

Now that you know that science is finding Heart and Gut Intelligence to be as real and calculable as our brain function, the key is to combine what all three have to offer, to truly be at your best.

Instead of making decisions, taking action, and communicating based solely on what you have in your head, imagine taking advantage of this additional, very real and useful intelligence to add to or blend the information from your head!

Leaders who make it to the top often rely on their instincts – their gut intelligence, or by listening to their heart — and have confidence to act boldly. We think of them as mavericks, apart from us mere mortals. Rare.

But my point is that none of us are “mere” anything! We all have these three brains within us, ready and available. We develop our brains through experience and education. All that needs to be developed for our Heart and Gut Intelligence to serve us is our awareness of them, and an ability to utilize each to the degree needed with any given person or situation.

Can you imagine feeling as comfortable sourcing what your gut and heart tell you as you do with your head? To access only one is to miss operating at your full potential not just your work, but with your family, friends, and in your community — not to mention your own life experience too!

The good news is, by the mere fact of your reading this far, we’ve begun that inner conversation! That small shift can begin to create, in its quiet way, concrete changes over time. If you want to learn how to identify which brain you are or could be using, and judge when to act on it – or not act, that is my specialty!

Please get in touch and let’s talk about your goals!