Talented People Need Empty Space.
After I’d sold my boutique hotel company Joie de Vivre, a wise older man said to me, “Create space and see what emerges.” While sage advice, embracing the void has always been scary for me. Silence and an empty calendar used to freak me out!
Eventually, I learned to embrace the quiet, which allowed my hidden talents to evolve. And from that space emerged my New York Times bestselling book, “Emotional Equations.” Not long after, the three young founders of Airbnb came calling when I least expected it, all putting me on a trajectory that has led me to this moment.
While my faith (and quiet) was rewarded, I’ll admit that I still bow to the gods of productivity and efficiency. I still cherish a full calendar. Busy, busy, busy.
Fortunately, I have learned a trick to embracing the space needed to find quiet. Maybe it’ll work for you as well. It’s simple. Spend a day with one of your senses completely unsatiated. Wear a blindfold all day. Wear tight ear plugs (with no music). Fast for the day. Wear a clothespin on your nose. Resolve that you will touch nothing all day. It is remarkable how your other senses fill the void. How aromas are more alive when you have no sight. How the birds are more noticeable when your stomach is grumbling. How you feel the space inside you when you can’t hear a thing. New connections are formed. The void is filled.
The truth is, our lives tend to be way too full, often due to our own fear of emptiness, missing out, or our internal need to always be there for anyone who needs us. And, sometimes, it’s because we simply don’t set aside time on our weekly calendar for quiet reflection. Regardless of the reason, giving ourselves space is our first step on our inward journey to reveal our hidden gifts and talents.
We owe it to ourselves to find this space.
How might your talent emerge—in all kinds of new ways—if you created the space for it to breathe and be noticed?