Creating a space for hope

Eleventh day of Christmas and second to last blog on hope.
I felt really frustrated yesterday as I was pulling a blank on topics. I have struggled a bit the other days, but as soon as I found a headline, the words would just flow out of my hands…

The topic of today was suggested by my friend Arlene; we are both in a slack group, where one of our most important channels is called “Brag and appreciate”, so we can practice speaking up about the things that we do. Another is “Whining and ranting” where we can vent and get support, when we feel down. Each serves it’s own purpose 🙂

Yesterday when I was frustrated about my lack of inspiration, Arlene said, “…you holding a safe space gives hope.” and referred to one of the times, where I shared a story in the brag channel a while ago.

The story was about one of my 1-1 conversations. When I start up with a new team, I always start out with a 1-1 conversation with each team member; the main purpose is to create connection, so they feel comfortable with me – that enables me to help them better. I ask them about their background and what they think I can do for them and for the team – and that is the basically it. They can ask me whatever they want, and then we see where it goes. These conversations have lasted between 10 minutes and three hours over the course of the 4-5 years I have been doing them. The majority are short, and then sometimes there is much to be said… Or maybe the thing is that there is much to be heard. Some continue with 1-1s while I work with the team, and other just have the one. And both is good.

The brag was about how baffled I still become, when people, I have just met, show immense trust and tell me quite personal and sensitive stuff. This was after a quite emotional and sensitive talk.

The thing is that I listen and care. That is mainly what I do. It does not sound like much, but it is to some people. They may rarely have someone, who gives them their full attention and just listen to them. At least my experience is that when I listen, people speak. I hold a space, where the person can safely talk even about things that are uncomfortable.

I had to ponder a bit about how that gives hope; I guess it is because people find that space, where they are okay, where they can talk about anything, where they can be.  And when they are listened to, they see hope. Hope that they can be helped, that they can help themselves – or just hope that everything will be okay. I am actually not sure, and I never considered that I created hope; in retrospect I do see the hope in people, when I create a space. Then it does not matter what kind of hope it is.

You may also create hope for people without knowing it.