The space in between

 In Expat emotions, Transition & Decisions, Work & career

Change happens when we move from one space, situation or type of thinking to another. So when things change you’ll inevitably find yourself in what I like to call “the space between spaces”. How long you remain in that space can of course vary, but it’s important to know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that space. 

You see, most people aren’t very comfortable with change and prefer to rush through that space and be “finished” (whatever that means) as quickly as possible. Sometimes though it’s not up to you to decide when you are “done” with the change and this can cause incredible frustration for some people who feel that they are stuck half way between the comfortable (familiar) old thing and the new (exciting yet difficult) thing. 

A while ago this was me. I felt like the fog of “in between-ness” was keeping me from moving forward, but I did not know HOW to move past it. So I did what I would recommend anyone else to do; I spoke to a range of people (including my own coach) about what I was experiencing and asked for their input. The 2 best pieces of advise I received were so simple, yet so important that I’d like to share them here. 

  1. The learning for the action taker: If you are normally the type of person that forges ahead, takes action and has a great sense of urgency about most things, this is probably your opportunity to slow down, sit down in the fog for a moment and see what happens. If we’re frantically forcing a solution, we can miss important signals and opportunities for help and support. Change is not a race you can win, it’s a process that will run its course. Allow yourself some breathing space and see what unfolds if you stop pushing for a moment. I’m not saying you should stay there forever, but by allowing a new type of thinking you’ll open up for new types of solutions to your challenges. 
  2. The learning for the reflective observer: If you are naturally a more slow moving and analytical person, your tendency might be to slow down or come to a complete stop when you hit this “in between space”. It’s perfectly fine to take a short break, but in your case you might want to tap into the good old saying that “motion creates emotion” and allow yourself to start doing something, even if you’re not 100% sure where it will land. Doing nothing in your case is likely to give you more of the same old thing, so dare to try any other approach just to see where it leads. 

These are possibly also somewhat connected with this post I wrote quite a while ago if you’d like to read more!

As you can imagine if you’ve followed this blog for a while, I’m more of scenario 1, so I chose a short period of reflection and allowing myself to sit in that slightly uncomfortable fog of not knowing. In my case it was a very helpful process and possibly most interesting was how many people who showed up to support and help me in a range of ways.

Sometimes doing almost the opposite to what comes natural can be the fastest way to introduce new ways of solving problems. Now isn’t that funny!

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