As one of my coaching clients you know I frequently talk about Creating Space.
For some of you, you create space to slow your head down. While others use this technique to accelerate thinking. For some it’s about balance or an ability to shift easily from one situation to the next, or you may be looking for a space to stop so you don’t throttle the person next you. And the right space, the right head space enables you to find the right language and action for the situation you are in.
I came across a great left of centre Creating Space story.
Over the Easter break, I was supporting my husband in his passion for racing superbikes. Imagine this - 3 days at the race track. Friday is practice, Saturday starts with a riders’ briefing immediately after with the qualifying time laps, and then racing for remainder of Saturday and Sunday. The only time the race track is quiet is during the riders’ briefing, lunch and if racing is halted because a fallen rider is being attended to. Naturally none of us want the latter.
One of our friends - nicknamed Birdsey - races a Ducati. I have often seen him taking what seems to be a power nap at the track. Picture this: he is sitting in the sun in his racing leathers having a power nap... amongst a world full of noise.
On Sunday night a group of us ended up at the local Indian restaurant. I asked him about his track naps.
He explained that his sister is an audiologist and she asked him a couple of years ago if he would consider wearing head phones at the track. I was of course thinking the headphones were to cut out the noise to protect from hearing loss. Bill went on to explain that while that was a benefit, his sister said it would assist with concentration. Even though the body recognises that background noise is just ‘background noise’ and filters it out, it is still working and processing unconsciously everything you hear. So, by wearing the headphones or having a nap you are reducing what your body processes and that increases the ability to pay attention to other things you need to concentrate on.
At this track the start of the race goes into a hairpin corner (approximately the width of a double car garage) with about 23 guys jostling for position at about 80 kms an hour. At other tracks, such as Eastern Creek and Phillip Island, they go into the first corner about 220kms an hour. So there is a lot to concentrate on.
I found what Bill shared, learnt and was applying, very interesting and the concept of removing unnecessary processing made a lot of sense. And here is the kicker. Bill started doing this about 2 years ago and it took almost 2 seconds off his lap times. This year, with the times that he is doing he is hoping for a spot on the podium.
Here’s to that podium, Bill.
So if you are like Bill and want to connect to your outcomes, find your space or need a refresher on finding or protecting your space to achieve your goal(s) - big or small - call me…
This Creating Space insight comes with a caution. For many of you music helps you anchor to a positive moment or memory that changes your head space and your emotional state quickly.
This story highlights how easily you can use music both positively and negatively and comes with a friendly workplace caution.
I first started working with Richard at the request of his boss. It’s fair to say their relationship was very disruptive and getting in the road of productive work. To say they did not get on was an understatement. Richard would prepare for battle ahead of their meetings.
My first meeting with Richard confirmed he was angry, frustrated and felt trapped in a disruptive relationship that was not doing him any good and was ruining a job he loved. We worked through the challenges and the options. When I felt Richard was ready to hear about how music could change his physical state I took him through the exercise of connecting to positive moments and explored ways he could do this for himself on demand. Richard learnt how he could use music to change his mood or attitude to a situation. In particular, preparing for meetings that tended to be hostile and felt like a war zone.
Then Richard went quiet on me. We sat in the moment. He says, ‘I guess listening to Rage Against the Machine full blast on the way to work is not helpful’. I smiled and said something along the lines of ‘probably not’.
At our next coaching session, Richard bounced in the room and shared how changing his listening habits to music that was more positive and fun did improve his attitude and mood. But beware: based on his experience, an uplifted mood can cause you to walk around the office with head phones on, singing the words of a very famous Violent Femmes song, Blister in the Sun. Those of you who know the song also will know that some of the lyrics are not what you would hope to sing out-loud to your colleagues!
So if you are like Richard and want to change your attitude to a situation, person or task or find or protect your space - call me…
For Richard the hostile relationship has turned around considerably. It has also been observed by those around him and Richard is enjoying going to work again.
We all have busy lives with many things coming at us all at once shattering our plans to achieve today’s tasks let alone finding the time for the bigger picture activities we need to achieve.
When our best laid plans are shattered we often struggle to think. I know this for myself. I know when I am in this state I am ineffective. It is a struggle to get out of the space.
Even the best advice of creating a new action plan, prioritising, delegating and other useful tips do little to recover the head-space that you had previously…
This space is dedicated to helping you create your space. Going beyond the to do list / compliance (and they have their place) style of approach to being able to step in and step out of what ever space you need at any given time.
Some days it seems impossible, as time goes you will find and master the techniques that work for you.
Think about your favourite song from your final year of high school. Or perhaps the music you play on a Friday night when you open a bottle of red and sit down and relax. (If you cannot recall any song because you are tied up in your head, refer to the bottom of this page).
For most of you the chances are you have leant back in your seat and slightly tilted your head back and to the left as you recall your music. Already your body has relaxed a little.
Music can change your physicality. This shows the incredible the power we have to tap into our body and change our physical state. In our busy world the challenge is remembering to do it frequently and especially when we need to.
So here’s a challenge.
Be careful what you say ‘Yes’ to.
Or is the real question - what are you saying ‘No’ to?
I have a writing goal. Increasingly I feel my writing goal coming to life. It is real and I am achieving it. As my goal comes to life it is becoming easier to put aside a couple of hours every morning for writing. Normally this is between 4.30 and 6.30am. I am an early riser and find this is the best writing time for me.
I often wake up with the words in my head and while the rest of the house is quiet, very quiet, I turn my laptop on. (Not my e-mail though, otherwise my thoughts start to get diluted). In the quietness and without e-mails I can consolidate my thoughts into the written word.
We have music, memories and magic moments that motivate us and give us strength. Art does the same, we claim a space in our life for beauty. It creates a magic moment for us to connect to. It is our past, our present and our future.
For me my art is my chill zone. It is my investment in me. As time goes by I have become more protective of my time for my creative. Here's what I have been doing with it.
G20 Sculpture exhibition. My first ever exhibition, Sunrise stretch (abstract nude)
My art Pinrest
What is your chill zone?