It’s been a year now since we all went over the cliff together and entered the space of the pandemic. We have arguably been held in liminal space ever since, individually and collectively. That’s an entirely unusual, difficult, complicated and unprecedented place to be. Liminality usually defines the transitional space for individuals or small groups. It is rare that an entire society is plunged into the void, without clarity, guidance or a clear way out. A year on, we’re still in a liminal space. Here’s what that means, and what it could mean for what comes next.
Last week I made the argument that we cannot do our best work in periods of stress. The value of having physical and mental space is that it allows us the ability to explore and experiment. It would be easy to conclude that all stress is bad, and that stress is to be avoided. That would be a mistake. While it is true that stressful experiences can keep us from doing our best work, sometimes the opposite of that is also true.
2020 has been a year. For all of us. It has been challenging, and difficult, and stressful and mired in uncertainty. We have confronted a pandemic, and the fraying of the social fabric, and more politics than many of us have tolerance for. While 2021 won’t be a clean slate, and we have work yet to resolve, I’m heading into the year with some degree of confidence and enthusiasm. Success will take work and effort, but I’m willing and prepared to roll up my sleeves and meet the year head-on.
I wrote last week about the transition that I was undertaking to a new approach to time management. At the time, I presumed it would be a relatively easy change to make. I knew I needed new software. I thought that I already had the practices and concepts down. I believed that I had ample time to get things sorted and organized in time for the new year. I was wrong on all counts.
Urgency often gets thought of very simplistically in the context of procrastination and deadlines. It plays a critical role in how we function as individuals and teams. It also gets out of balance really quickly.
Risk is an interesting topic. We think we are supposed to manage it. But all too often, risk manages us. A better question to ask is, “How well are we positioned to cope with what could happen?” Why coping is more than just getting by.