In leadership, especially in the industry of mentoring, coaching, counseling, or other support professions, many of us use the expression that we “hold a safe space” for people.
But that’s not really the truth, is it?
We don’t hold safe spaces. We can’t guarantee safety in their lives, that their fears won’t materialize, that they will never be hurt. No space we create can do that. No matter how kind or accepting we are, or how patient and forgiving we see ourselves, the best we can truly do is hold a courageous space for someone, because that’s what’s required of them: courage. Courage to face a fear, to confront a demon, to respectfully challenge another, to question authority, to step into their life-long dream, to envision a new possibility for an age-old experience, to truly live a new day in a new way — any way different than it was lived yesterday. That can only happen in a courageous space.
When we come to realize that such act of choice is not safe for them, we begin to realize that what our lives, what our world, asks of us, is not safety at all — but courage.
How do you hold courageous spaces today?