Simple ways to add “liminal space” and enhance your workday

I’ve been thinking lately about liminal space — that “in between” as you change from one state to another.

My son just graduated from college, and knowing how deeply he feels transitions we decided to create liminal space for him. So we planned a long road trip from Boston to San Francisco so he had extra time to celebrate what he accomplished and prepare himself for the future.

Liminal space is critically important for seamless change. Unfortunately, I don’t see many leaders or organizations intentionally creating liminal space to support change or disruptive thinking. But you can create liminal space anytime! For example:

  • Have people switch seats or move the furniture around during a meeting. If it’s a Zoom meeting, ask everyone to stand up and move to a different room. This simple change in seating shifts the orientation of everyone in the meeting, creating a different perspective (literally!).

  • Share a story about a problem or a situation that opens up new ways of thinking about the world. Talk about a customer, talk about their background, and have people help you build that story to make it richer. Community storytelling lets you create liminal space together about who this person is and how you want to help them.

  • Meditations (as simple as deep breathing) and walks are terrific for liminal space. Next time you have a 1:1 conversation with a team member, go for a walk-and-talk instead of face-to-face. Literally walking around creates a liminal space for discovery and exploration that sitting at a desk can never replicate.

I go into more detail about liminal space, including the three steps to create liminal space for any change, in my LinkedIn newsletter Leading Disruption.

Here’s my invitation to you today: how can you create liminal space right now? After you finish reading emails, can you intentionally give yourself some time and space for transition before you start your next task? Hit reply and let me know!

And join me live next Tuesday, when I’ll be sharing the answer to a terrific question from a client: “how open and authentic do I need to be as a leader?” You can find me Tuesday, June 22nd at 9:00 am PT / 12:00 pm ET on LinkedIn and Facebook Live.

My Latest:

  • Last Tuesday I was live discussing how bad we are at disagreeing! It’s one of the biggest dysfunctions inside organizations. I share three ways to disagree better, and you can watch the replay here.

Good Things:

  • Good Reads: Robert Glazer’s book on virtual work just came out: How to Thrive in the Virtual Workplace. I know Robert personally — he’s been leading a fully virtual organization since 2007, so he knows what he’s talking about! Plus, his weekly Friday Forward emails are fabulous. I highly recommend reading his book and subscribing to his emails.

  • Referral: Last time I shared that I’m learning to build my "second brain" using Roam Research. I've taken electronic notes for ages but didn't have a good way of organizing them into a truly useful system. Diego Tiago's fabulous Building a Second Brain course helped me create a system where I could store information and FORGET it, thus keeping my brain clear to focus. The key for me is having confidence that the information is organized in a way that I can retrieve it, quickly and easily. If your work depends on knowledge, I highly recommend the course!

  • Resource: Time Buddy! I love this app and I use it all the time for timezone planning when I’m scheduling meetings. No more Googling “what time is it in….” Instead, I pull up the app on my phone and I can immediately see what time it is everywhere.