07 May Sustaining Peak Performance During A Pandemic – Back to the Future (we’ve been here before…)
Recorded Webinar Replay
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the life that is waiting for us” – Joseph Campbell
We are all living in a liminal space.
Liminal space is an in-between space. It is the space when you are ‘on the verge’ of something new: you are between ‘what was’ and ‘what will be’. You are waiting and not knowing about what will come.
We may be looking ahead to a re-emergence and a rebuild of our disrupted lives and businesses. What do we really need to know to take the next steps?
The more I thought about this the more I realised that actually we have all been here before.
This event is not ‘unique in our life-times’ and ‘unprecedented times’ and ‘never experienced before’.
We have all experienced liminal spaces… all our lives… and survived … and grown as a result.
This is just normal life!
These are certainly moments of uncertainty, but also ripe with possibility.
Liminality can be uncomfortable and disorienting. It is characterised by uncertainty because you don’t know what’s about to come when you cross the threshold into the new space beyond.
How many of us have experienced any of these in our lives?
- Changes in Social Status: Including initiation ceremonies where someone who as an outsider from a group becomes an official insider: when someone is given citizenship, membership to a society or graduating with a vocational degree.
- Physical Movements: When someone moves to a new house, their workplace is relocated, they move overseas, stranded in an airport transit lounge.
- Changes in Situations: This includes getting a divorce, starting a new job, graduating from college, inheriting money, discovering you have cancer, when the kids leave home.
- Passing of Time: Important birthdays, New Year’s Eve, harvest festivals, wedding anniversaries, Bah Mitzvahs, Quincineras.
These are classic liminal states – changing from one state to another – some are quick, and others are prolonged.
These are spaces where change can occur. It can be full of excitement and opportunity. New and good things could be coming, just around the corner. It is “a good space where genuine newness can begin.”
Spaces of liminality give us a fresh start. We can put aside the things we didn’t like from a past situation and start afresh with a new positive outlook.
Liminality brings up strong emotions, creating lots of creativity and innovation: songs, artworks, books: for example, the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas.
When we don’t know what’s coming, liminal spaces can be empty and spooky or scary and uncomfortable, we’ll often feel anxious and sick in the stomach.
We often feel unprepared for it. When we are waiting for a diagnosis from a doctor, we might not want to face the reality. When we’re graduating university, we might feel like we’re unprepared to start a new career.
Many people seek help during times of transition due to this discomfort and uncertainty. They could seek out professional help or look for the unconditional love and support of their family, loved ones and community during this time.
Mostly though, liminality makes us afraid. The assumed disadvantages seem to outweigh the advantages.
But these experiences inform us that we manage these states by applying some clear thinking and logic to the emotion – with tools we already have – integrating our left and right brains into a coherent and cognizant plan.
So maybe we just need to apply what we already know by asking:
- What are our cognitive biases that will lead us astray?
- How do we scenario-test the possibilities?
- What are our assumptions, and do they stack up, really?
- And if we had the benefit of 20:20 hindsight, what would we do?