I’ve been reading Mark Miller’s new book, Smart Leadership: Four Simple Choices to Scale Your Impact, and I came across an idea that I’ve been captivated by for several days now: liminal space. Here’s what Mark writes about it:

“Although liminal space is a term from the field of psychology, the host made a point to define it in layman’s language: the space between what was and what is to come. The word liminal actually translates from the Latin word “limi,” which means threshold. As we stand on a threshold, we are leaving one space but have not yet entered the new space. Think about the threshold on your front door. It is not really outside the house or inside, but in between.

This place, or space, was described as a type of limbo, often a place of extreme discomfort. For me, that was not the case. Liminal space, as I had experienced it, was a place of unbounded opportunity and potential. It was a place where we are unfettered by our past and yet fully alert to the possibilities and the potential ahead of us. In this space, we find our best chance to create the future.”

What a wonderfully fantastic term! Neither the past nor the present; neither trapped by what was nor locked into what will be. Liminal space is a place of unbounded opportunity and potential.

That’s today, leaders.

When you woke up today, the past was behind you. You can’t change one thing about it. The future is unwritten, a blank canvas waiting for the brush strokes you have yet to make. Today you are in liminal space, a place of unbounded opportunity and potential.

And yet, too often, our minds and spirits are shacked by what was and trapped in regret and limiting beliefs that prevent us from dreaming and stepping into the opportunity that could be.

Today is liminal space – if you recognize it and treat it as such.

Lead forward, embracing change and what-could-be. As Miller says elsewhere in his book, “progress is always preceded by change.”

What are you dreaming could be? What change needs to be made this year in your leadership, on your team, in your organization? What decision is between you and what-could-be?

I believe today is the time for COURAGE. It’s the time for catalytic leadership. It’s the time to lead from liminal space. And see what happens when you do.


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