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  • Writer's pictureAnnabelle White

Where the magic happens!


In my last blog, I wrote about being ready for change, and how sometimes there's something unresolved that's holding you back. But once you've identified what's holding you back, what then?

A couple of weeks ago, I came across the word 'liminal'. You know how you hear a word for the first time, and then you hear it everywhere? It first came up during my group coaching supervision session, and I knew when I heard it, that this was a special word.

The liminal space is that space between two states of 'being', with 'liminal' coming from the Latin 'limen' meaning threshold. In architecture, the 'liminal space' is the space between rooms, such as corridors and staircases. The liminal space is a place of transition, of going between one place and the next.

If you google 'liminal space' you'll get a lot of negative sounding descriptions. The reason for this is that it can feel really uncomfortable, you're not sure where it's going, you feel like you don't quite belong there, like something isn't quite right, there's no certainty. Examples given are: imagine you're in an empty corridor, or an empty museum or an empty car park. There's that feeling of unease, like something isn't as it should be, like you shouldn't be there.

But if you want to change, you need to go through that liminal space. You have no choice. So how do you get comfortable with it? How do you enjoy it? How do you make it count so that you end up at your best destination?

For me, the liminal space is an exciting space, I was a bit shocked at all the negative references when I googled it, because when I first heard about it my immediate feeling was excitement, and my immediate thought was 'that's where the magic happens!'. Maybe that's because I've lived through so many transitions. Just in the last 13 years we've moved countries 4 times and houses 9 times. We’ve travelled extensively all over the world. And I often say that I sometimes love the journey almost more than the destination! I love meeting new people, smelling new smells, exploring new sites, making new friends, finding my new home, exploring my new neighbourhood, but I know it's not for everyone, and I know that it can be really difficult.

The truth is, the liminal space is where the magic happens, because it's in the journey through that space that the transformation occurs. But it doesn't happen on it's own and without effort. You need to actively take steps in the direction you want to go in, even if they're only small steps. And enjoy the journey! Research shows that people find feedback on progress more rewarding than actually finally reaching a goal, so let's reward ourselves every step of the way and enjoy that liminal space! Don't be so focussed on the destination that you don't appreciate the beauty of the twists and turns along the way. Don't take the short cut or go into the first room you come across, it might not be the best one for you, even if it does give you certainty in the short term.

Sometimes you'll make mistakes, or the uncertainty will be overwhelming, or you're not sure where to start, or you hit a dead end, and that's where coaching can help. At Change Navigating, you can get support in navigating your liminal space, to ensure that every step is intentional, that you've got a partner with you in that space, that you take the time to think through where you want to go and how you want to get there, and so that the destination you get to, is the best version it can be.

Contact me if you'd like to have a conversation about how coaching can help you to navigate your change.

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