Holding Space and Finding My Own

June 25, 2013 § 1 Comment

It’s been awhile since my last post. Somewhere late last year I ran out of room. Room for myself because I was too full holding space for others. And its taken me awhile to let go enough to find space for myself again.

There is a reason in airplanes they tell you to “first put the oxygen mask on yourself” and then take care of others. But when you are not flying at 30,000′ with it’s associated risks, it is easier said than done. And in the spirit of changing the world of work, I think it’s worth exploring the implications of reaching “past full” and looking at some options to help when it happens.

And it happens. To all of us from time to time. You know the feeling. Like you are full up past your eyeballs (sometimes mine actually leak when I reach this point..no kidding!). You have no additional capacity to take on one more thing and the next thing to come along just might cause you to loose it. And you are not even sure what “it” is, but your pretty sure if you lost “it” it would not be a pretty sight.

When we reach this point, our tendencies are to react. To protect. To defend. To control. To hunker down and slog our way through. Why? Because we have to. Because no one else can do it. Because (fill in the blank with your favorite reason).

And what I’ve come to learn is our reasons limit space for the thing we need most. Help. The thing we need the most, we are hesitant to seek. And the odd thing is, the hands and hearts are always there. Waiting. Sometimes pleading, to help.

Our reasons and rationales actually create distance. Often from those who care the most for us. Which is ironic, because the way out of the particular pit of doom and dread we are living in is to rely on others, to ask for help. To allow other to help. To know we are worthy of help.

I know for most of us this level of vulnerability can be uncomfortable. Especially in a work setting where we have this script running in our head that tell us we must be strong, we must not crack, we must (fill in with your favorite reason). In one of my most favorite TED talks of all time, Brene Brown talks about the power of vulnerability. And that at it’s core is a belief that we are worthy of love, of being cared for. And that surrounding each of us are friends, allies and mentors to help. When we need it.

I needed them. And once I was able to let them in, my load lightened. And now my voice is back. Let begin again. Together.

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