Christopher Bolling
The Gift of Time and Space

▶️ Hear Christopher Bolling’s melodic audio of this piece

This morning I'm spending some time reflecting on the gift of time and space.

In my world of executive coaching, cultivating presence is beyond important, it's a requirement. To show up in the coaching space, the need is to be grounded and available to attend to whatever arises for my executive coaching clients. And to be grounded, I must take the time that's needed to connect and to attend to whatever's there for me, so that I can be available for others.

In the world of the "busy" executive, time and space can often feel like a luxury. End to end meetings, getting the kids off to school, Board service, social functions, business travel, closing the quarter - it really just doesn't seem to end. It's not at all uncommon for me to hear from my clients that "I attend meetings during the day, and I do my work when I get home." I've been there.

Occasionally, we pick our heads up and we wonder where the week went, or what the hell happened to the month. I call that getting lost in the current. And when we get lost in the current we've stepped in, and we now find ourselves far downstream. And we're likely to have missed some things along the way: unattended frustrations, the moment to recognize a contribution from somebody on the team. the fact that our partners or kids might have needed an ear last night, an opportunity that was right there to take but we were just too busy to notice, or perhaps the chance to just step out of it all and take a breath.

In my experience, finding time and space requires us to be intentional. That's to say that creating time and space is a practice. It's an acknowledgement that there's value in slowing it all down, taking a beat, and checking in with yourself.

We tend to operate at our best when there's spaciousness. Stepping away from that compressed space and into a moment of spaciousness can, and will, afford us many things. We begin to see what needs to be seen, perhaps gaining perspective that allows us to lead more effectively. We tend to be more creative. We gain an ability to be fully present for our peers, our teams and our families. And we reconnect to the values by which we choose to lead - and we may even see when we've gone astray from those values.

I can see the eyes rolling or hear the refrain -"There's just too much to be done and I really can't afford to take time for myself."

And to that I say - you must! Picking your head up, creating some space, and taking a look around, and within, is a requisite for effective leadership. Sure, you can stay in a constant state of motion, but what are you missing along the way?

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