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Amanda Slavin

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Giving Yourself Space

Posted: 03/26/2013 1:14 pm

I move fairly fast and for anyone who knows me, they would probably say that is an understatement. A friend of mine said to me recently, "everything moves faster when you are around," which has been my biggest strength when inspiring people to be at their best, do their best, and create their best, but it is also my biggest weakness. I have found there have been times in my life where I move so fast through a situation, an experience -- whether it's painful or beautiful, I miss the spaces between, the moments needed for reflection, for growth and for moments of learning.

I had breakfast with my friend a year or so ago and it was at the time I started to analyze decisions I had made and not made around my lifestyle. Graduating from graduate school and then jumping into a job four days later, I forgot to read, write, learn, go to the doctor, breathe, sleep, or perform any necessary task needed to just be. I was sitting with my friend at a cafe, staring in front of us. My friend looked at the brick wall across the street, and asked me what I saw, to which I responded, "Uh... a wall." He responded in his Mr. Miyagi way and said, no you are constantly seeing past the wall, 100 steps past it, and you cannot just appreciate what it is right in front of you.

It sunk in even deeper when another friend of mine (I have a lot of great friends who tell it to me straight) told me that I was so busy living in this elevated space of wanting to change the world, I couldn't just focus on being present and expressing myself based on present situations. I started to realize I needed space from everyone telling me who I was and where I wanted to be so I could figure it out for myself. I couldn't drop off the face of the earth, I couldn't move to India for months on end and meditate (even though that sounded awesome after four years of throwing myself into New York Cith like a workhorse), but I knew I needed to create space for myself to be able to figure out who I was and what I wanted.

I took time to think about what I wanted from life, and when I say life, I do not mean work. I webbed ideas of what I wanted for myself, the people I wanted to be around, prioritize, and how for some instances, wanted to work with. I thought of space as in location, where I needed to be in order to say yes to only the necessary things I needed to say yes to, and say yes to myself more often. I thought of space as in space from people. There were some people I realized were energy suckers who somehow removed themselves from my life, there were others who loved me very much and who I loved but who I needed space from to be able to figure out what was best for me. For those who did not understand, I knew they were taking up unnecessary space, for those who did, I knew these were the type of people I wanted in my life -- supportive, loving and loyal friends who allowed me the space to be me and step into my own life.

A lot of my friends are leaving their jobs, leaving their relationships, leaving their hometowns; I find I have a lot of people in my life who are transitioning and are asking how they figure out what they want from their next job. I always point out that their job is only one part of their lives, it is so important to just give yourself time and space to figure out what's next, who you want to be, and how you can get there; and make sure you give yourself the space that it takes to achieve anything you want, the sky is the limit once you do.

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