We talk about spending time, wasting time, even killing time, or having the time of our life and yet for many people the choice of how they use time seems to be out of focus, put on the back burner or never discussed at all. We can find ourselves putting things off for later, things that we want to do, hope to do. What are we waiting for? Why do we do it? Is it a question of timing rather than procrastination?
The Coaching Relationship can be an oasis which provides an occasion to address areas such as this. In the coaching hour our time is our own, to consider, vision, plan and think about the consequences of decisions.
So what is time all about?
We talk about:
Time to problem solve
Time to resolve conflict
Taking our time
Let’s look at quality time. Quality time can be time alone, a time for solitude, to lie in the grass and look at the stars, wake early and hear the dawn chorus, walk along an empty beach, make the first footprints in the snow.
Quality time is also about nurturing our significant relationships, spouses, lovers, friends and children: laughing together instead of worrying about the bills, the obligations and the DIY. Relationships need nourishing just like anything else. It is not infrequently the case that this fails to occur and if this neglect accumulates then there are the inevitable consequences.
Quality time is also about our spirituality, quality time with the Divine, the Transpersonal, whatever we perceive that dimension to entail. We need time to be able to; meditate, to pray, to be thankful to be grateful, to be joyous, to ask for help, to be still. I love listening to Rabbi Lionel Blue on Thought for the Day on Radio Four in the mornings, who offers modest, humorous and compassionate observations on our human condition. Just taking the time to listen to voices like his can still the hurly burly of life for a few minutes.
Time out involves distancing ourselves from the normal structures within which we live. A holiday, a change of scene or routine gives us a greater perspective on a range of issues. Sometimes big worries pale into insignificance when we take a step back. We are familiar with the phrase 'can’t see the wood for the tree's and time out gives us a chance to see the forest, the bigger picture.
Organisations have away days to problem solve. It is another form of time out. Staff meetings, regular discussions and consultation are worth their weight in gold. We know, however, that away days can occur when the situation has become dire through the neglect of such regular meetings and then it may take more than this sort of a day to put things back on track. Tasks take over, fire fighting becomes the norm and such time away is seen as a luxury rather than a necessity. Supervision or coaching on a regular basis can really help teams and organisations spot problems before they become too large. It is time well invested.
Taking our time!
In an age when the pace of life, through modern technology, is faster and faster and the demand for an instant response greater than ever, it can seem that we are constantly pressurised to deliver at speed. This is a particular pressure for perfectionists, but does affect us all. Taking our time is a good permission to give those who hurry up and are speedy and efficient. They will not abuse that in any way and feel a physical sense of relief as they literally take their time. If you take the sentence and play with emphasising systematically each of the three words in turn you will get a different feel. All of these are valid.
Take your time.
Take your time.
Take your time.
High quality coaching, whether personal, business or executive gives us time to take a snapshot of our lives in the current reality, to assess what is going well and what needs attention. It gives us a chance to check whether the direction we are going in is in accord with our core values. It helps us challenge old beliefs which are no longer helpful. It enables us to take account of our own ecology; family, friends, location, systems and gives us a chance to move forward to creating a new vision for the next part of our life.
So in this day and age it looks as though we consciously have to make ourselves stop and consider what choices we are making and why. Living our best life involves re-assessing our decisions and living mindfully, in full awareness which simply means, attending to everything and being fully engaged, not sleepwalking. Above all we need to create an absolute yes list, and to live our lives ethically.