I recently attended a coaching conference in which one of the presenters spoke on the topic of "Stay a Little Longer". She was intending this to be in the context of our work as coaches. The idea is that sometimes, when we ask a question, we get an answer, and then we want to move on to the next question. But often the best, most amazing fruit from the conversation comes when we stay a little longer with it. This might take the form of unpacking the answer a little more deeply, or becoming aware of the feelings generated by both the question and the answer, or by taking the time to discern the meaning behind the answer - the implications, the "so what".
The very next day, I was in a small group discussing the topic of "space" - not the astronaut kind, but the kind that we have in our lives - or not. The leader asked a series of questions about space - for example, "What does 'space' mean to you?", and "Do you have enough of it in your life right now?", and "If you had more of it, what would you do with it?". The discussion that followed was lively and filled with all kinds of interesting insights. Each group member participated enthusiastically.
On the long trip home, I revisited the conversation, reviewing my notes and recalling my thoughts at the time and I discovered there was more. It wasn't anything complicated, but it was incredibly impactful to me. As an introvert - a person who recharges emotionally by being alone, space is important. I began to think more deeply about what happens to me when space is insufficient. In Healing Care, our caregiver question would be something like this: "What is that lack of space costing you?" I recalled the cost had been bothering me for a long time - many years, in fact, but I could never quite put a finger on it.
And then it came to me - the cost is that the lack of space makes it harder for me to "hold space" - for others, and even for myself - to be generative, and fully present, and empathetic, and resourceful - the best version of me - even for the people I cherish the most.
Once that dawned on me, it was much easier to create an action plan that I am confident will allow me to "hold more space". Hurrah!
But let's be clear - this blog is NOT about space, or holding space, or introverts, or anything like that - it is about "Staying a little longer" - getting behind the first answer. Going past the easy place, or even the challenging place, to the deeper place, where the important questions lie - the ones that only Jesus can help us resolve. As you move through healing journeys with others, or as you move through your own, try staying a little longer and see what happens!
After spending over 30 years in the corporate world in various executive roles, Doug began a new career as an executive coach and consultant. He was introduced to Healing Care Ministries in 2008, and is now on a lifetime healing journey. He lives in Westerville , Ohio with his wife of 44 years (Sally). They have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. He loves to travel with Sally, and spend time with his grandkids.