Getting Out of the Bubble
I’ve spent more time in my head, since I’ve moved to NY and I don’t think I’m alone in that. I remember when I first moved here I was like an open vessel, absorbing input with all my senses. It was so exciting! And so exhausting. I would come home from the city and be utterly wiped out. I quickly learned in time that my old way of interacting with the world wasn’t sustainable. With so much stimulus, people here have to almost create a protective “bubble” around them to survive – the constant barrage of sights and sounds and smells becomes too much to endure. You’re left with no energy to “do life”.
I don’t think this is just a NY phenomenon, I find it’s become this way in our organizations as well. With the advent of the hip, open-concept office space, everyone is around everyone all the time. And yet I’ll walk into an office with 50 people all working in the same room and it’s so silent I feel like I’m whispering in church if I speak. What’s meant to be energizing in design, can become a vacuum if we’re not careful.
And in our need to multitask 24/7 – to send that last email, or check in on a deliverable – we disappear into our devices – “bubbling” out the world around us.
A survival technique at what cost?
I don’t know about you, but I find the more time I spend in my head, the harder it is to get out of it. To be present. To be inclusive. I stop fully engaging with the people around me because I’m caught in my own web of thoughts.
And when I encounter others who are stuck in their heads, I’ll do one of two things:
1. I’ll make meaning about the reason they’re not present with me (“They don’t care.” or “Was it something I said?” or “They’re not interesting.”, etc…)
2. I’ll feel like I’m an intruder. I don’t want to disturb them and find myself shrinking back from asking questions, engaging in conversation, or being able to connect in any meaningful way.
And with our lives unfolding in a “bubble” – if we’re not engaging or present with the world – might that have an impact on our relationships? On our ability to get things done? On our company cultures?
On our own sense of satisfaction?
A “bubble” isn’t inherently good or bad. Some of my most creative moments have emerged from my bubble. It’s not an all-or-nothing thing. But, as with everything, it all begins with mindfulness. Do you know when you’re in your bubble? When it’s working for you and when it’s not?
We have the power to choose. We forget. We don’t have to run our lives on auto-pilot.
Because we may be able to survive within a bubble. But there’s not a lot of thriving going on.
©OnStage Leadership, 2013
Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop. If you found this helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, or inspiring please “recommend”, “Like” and share. It is only through your generosity that we can reach those who may find it valuable too.