Space to Think

Between stimulus and response is a space. in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Victor E. Frankl

This leadership technique has always been a conundrum to me. it makes perfect sense, but I’ve never been able to catch that space between action and reaction. It’s such a fleeting moment in time that I’ve always suspected it’s not actually possible to do. 

And then I was furloughed. 

At 2pm my employer told me that 25% of staff were to be furloughed and 90 mins later the call came through from my Director. I was to be one of them.  As emotional roller coasters go, it was up there.  Over the next 3 hours I was cool, teary, resigned, angry, hurt, curious and scared. Mainly all at once.

Then work finished and I had time to think about what had happened. All those feelings were valid and there are some real concerns in this situation that I didn’t want to minimise, however I knew I would be ok. Most of my emotional angst was around pride around not being considered business critical and I knew I could get over that in time. I could also pay my mortgage, had a garden to enjoy the outdoors and lived with my husband. I’d be absolutely fine during the furlough and if I could start living that reality now rather than fighting or marinating in pride, maybe I could save myself some pain. 

Here was the moment that I had never been able to grab before, the space where I could choose my response.  It turns out not to exist in just a microsecond after an action, but in the forever afterwards and you can make the choice to respond at any time.

And now 6 days after the fact, how am I? I’m curious about all I’ll learn and do and experience and try and fail and relax into over the 7 weeks. I’m also glad I choose to get over myself sooner rather than later so I can enjoy my ‘at home’ sabbatical.  It’s like the ‘home edition’ of the non-maternity leave I always wanted but without the work guilt, which is the best thing ever!

Me, choosing my reaction on my last day of work for 7 weeks.

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