We Could not See This Coming; we were unprepared.
How could we? We built our lives and worked with the ability to move around and serendipitously bump into people and ideas. That simple fact is so foundational there was no way we could have expected this forced, but at–times welcomed slowdown.
Once safe, we quickly got all home offices in order, digitized our teams and their processes, waiting for the phone to ring. Luckily it did, and our clients still needed us. We were busy, sometimes busier than ever.
As we were trying to find our grounding we spent countless hours on Zoom, looking for team productivity apps, or collected ice-breakers for our weekly team ‘happy hours’
We realized that was not the end of it, something was still missing. We can’t just walk over for a ‘check-in,’ ask for a quick team huddle, or factor in the energy in a room when making a decision. It is like we were stuck in a to-do mode, and were not able to go above Maslow-state-of-mind, to create and inspire our teams.
How might we stay creative and optimistic about the future with a foundation that is continually changing?
It is as if we were in a no-gravity zone. By the time we reach an understanding of the situation at hand, the circumstances might already be changing.
This new reality needs more than just traditional outward-facing strategy and tactics. It asks for a constant reflection–and-projection type of thinking. It asks us to show up and meet on the intellectual, emotional, and visceral.
We need to give space to the people around us to self-lead while being supported from afar. We need to build protocols but know when to look across them. The best thing we can do in times of uncertainty is to be work with liminality. And ultimately to consider how we might enable the agency of those around us, without telling them what to do.
Distributed, not Remote
The work environments we existed in are on hold at the moment. That pod, or a creativity wall are not useful until we can all confidently go back to working in the same space. That temporary office we set ourselves is likely to be our company-of-one until the end of the year, if not longer. And the same is true for everyone else in our orbit.
We are all freelancers and entrepreneurs now, while bound with the companies we’re in, and having to toggle a blurring line between personal and professional life. Relying on the persona we used to be, in a world we hope would go back to normal, might cause more frustration than value. Instead, we might consider who we are as a person, and show up as that person: all this time juggling fluctuating moods, personal circumstances, household commitments, and energy levels.
We are in that crucial moment realizing our sprint has become a marathon. The Third Space Network is a circle to study, support, and nourish the new skills needed for this reality.
What is it?
The Third Space is a circle for proactive thinkers, those who read all of the essays and thought pieces, but are looking for action through study, support, and conversation. It is for those looking to generate a creative mindset and inspire their teams to the same.
It is a ‘place’ for those ready to switch from emergency protocol to a longer-term plan, to move from dealing with fires to giving their teams generative solutions to move ahead. It is a place to find new tools for leadership, creativity, inspiration, compounding unknowing-ness and perpetual risk with intention.