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"The Space"

I love learning the same concept from different perspectives. As I’m working on both coaching and a master’s degree, I appreciate the crossover of ideas presented with different language.

This weekend in my organizational leadership program, I learned the concept of metanoia.

Metanoia means a fundamental change of thinking and transformation of heart. Although the word is often used in a spiritual context, I learned it at school and saw its direct application to coaching as well. The goal of coaching is also a change of thinking, which can lead to a transformation of heart.

Coaching is about helping you see your thoughts, choosing which ones you want to keep, and changing the ones you wish to change.

This quote attributed (there is some debate whether it is correctly or incorrectly) to Viktor Frankl offers us an idea of how we can do that.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”


We have to slow down enough to access that space.

In a world overloaded with stimuli, we often respond automatically. Because our brains are wired to be efficient, we will automatically choose the thoughts and actions we’ve always done – the habitual ones. When we don’t seize our power in that “space,” we are destined to repeat the past.

To create a fundamental change of thinking, we must slow down enough to access that space between stimulus and response. How does one do that?

  • Meditation

  • Prayer

  • Coaching

  • Physical reminders (i.e.rubber band on the wrist, clapping hands, saying “stop” out loud)

  • Time in nature

  • Schedule daily downtime

  • Journaling

  • Writing down our thoughts

If you want the future to be different than the past, you must access “the space.” In “the space,” we have the opportunity to choose our thoughts. I am privileged to have the chance to help people do that through coaching. I love that my coaches help me do that. It’s not a quick fix, but it is a meaningful fix. Deciding which thoughts you choose and how you respond is your gateway to growth and freedom. It is in “that space” where we choose our thoughts that we can experience metanoia.

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