Updated: Aug 16, 2020
In the current chaos and uncertainty combined with the pace of change and fragility of our lives, making time for reflection becomes a necessity for sanity and effectiveness, rather than a simple luxury.
I would like to share with you the analogy of the ‘dancefloor and the balcony’.
When we are rocking our moves on the dancefloor, we are in the middle of the hustle and bustle, and although it can have its charm, it can also be busy and frantic, like our everyday lives. Whilst perching on the balcony creates space to take a breath, tune into what is happening and experience the vibrations, just like when we get a moment to savour a much needed coffee or cup of tea.
Many of the clients I coach have benefitted from regularly taking their ‘foot of the dancefloor and stepping up onto the balcony’ to really digest, capture and absorb what and how they are feeling and thinking at a moment in time. By building short yet frequent ‘balcony moments’ into their daily practice has enabled them to lift their heads from the detail, create a sense of objectiveness and detachment to their situation to adopt a more holistic and systems view.
Why are these ‘balcony moments’ extremely powerful to our being and effectiveness?
Perspective – when we are stuck in the busyness and franticness of the never ending to do list, rushing from one activity or place to the next, we can often lose sight of the real purpose of our ‘why’ – the real reason of why we are busting our chops. In these times of frenzy, we get trapped in the detail and become narrow focused in the lens we apply and therefore, miss identify where we can generate greater value. By being able to take a step up onto the balcony creates a space for new perspectives to emerge, enabling perceptions to shift and see things from other’s shoes as well as, being able to view things more objectively and creatively.
Clarity – Mentally escaping even momentarily from the social, media and physical noise and turbulence around us, mobilises a sense of calmness and stillness to emerge. Whether this be through meditation, mindfulness or simply being alone and giving your mind a chance to catch a breath, take stock and connect with one specific topic is hugely powerful. Freeing ourselves from distractions and unhelpful chatter in our own heads, allows us to think clearly on specific topics or issues. Having clarity can help to shape and crystalize ideas and thoughts as well as, carve a path for the way forward, whether this be small steps or the beginning of a wild and exciting idea or project.
Insight - By taking the time to really focus on one thought, idea or decision allows you to build a deeper understanding of it and formulate your own ideas and views. This feeling of being able to take the time to gather your own thoughts, no one else’s but your own, is liberating and empowering and instils confidence as you are the one that then owns those thoughts, views or ideas. Similarly, taking the time to reflect on what is working or has worked, or perhaps no longer serves you well now, or is not needed, is a great way to gather insight on what you need to ‘stop’, ‘continue’ and ‘start’ doing as you navigate your way through such turbulent times.
From my personal experience, being a mum of two young boys, juggling running my own business and being absolutely present and engaged with my clients, home-schooling and managing a family household with all the stuff that comes between that, I soon realised that my sanity during lockdown was heavily dependent on making space for my own ‘balcony moments’. Whether this was just for 20-30 minutes once a week or ideally as part of my 5am weekday morning routine, having this mental space to gain perspective, clarity and insight was essential to enable me to show up as best as I could in each role I played. Post lockdown, this practice for me now is embedded in my routine and I relish this time of walking to the river alone, not being on my phone and giving myself the opportunity to contemplate. This personal thinking time has helped to develop some of my most inspiring ideas, make some life changing decisions as well as, help me focus on the here and now. I come back to each of my roles more reinvigorated, energised and ready to take on the next challenge that comes my way.
Stepping off the dancefloor and up onto the balcony is a skill that needs to be practiced and developed. I help my clients refine their skills in this area to enable them to maximise the value they can achieve from their own ‘balcony moments’.