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Am I Liminal Thinking?

Updated: Mar 26, 2022

My goal for 2022 was to remain curious, so when I heard of the book "Liminal Thinking" by Dave Gray, I was curious. Liminal was not a word I had been familiar with, so I bought the audiobook and jumped in.

According to Dave Gray, "Liminal Thinking is the art of creating change by understanding, shaping, and reframing beliefs."

In his book, Dave provides real life examples of how exploring the situation further led to a deeper understanding and capacity to appropriately and compassionately handle it. The ability to suspend your "obvious understanding" of the situation allows our mind to dive a bit deeper and comprehend as much of the reality as we can. Appreciating that the story of this reality may be different to each person experiencing the situation.

This book definitely resonated strongly with me. I acknowledge that I walk around with a certain understanding of the people, places, and things around me. But the way others view these are potentially very different, even counter to my understanding. And yet, they are both true to each of us. Rather than try to force someone else to see what or how I see something, being able to take those vulnerable steps to ask pivotal questions to find our common ground are necessary.

Ok, but what does this mean practically?

For me it is a continued shift in the way I approach situations. When something is irritating me or I am getting angst about how something is going, I need to ask myself what the story I am creating is first. Then, I need to find out what the story is for others in the situation.

This way of handling hard situations grows upon one of my mottos - "Assume positive intent" - people don't typically come into a scenario with the intent to disagree or cause distress.

These are ideal times to lean on my coaching training and utilize open ended questions that avoid placing others on the defensive.

"Tell me more about ... "

"When you use the word "??", what do you mean..."

"And what else..."

The concept of liminal thinking pulls together many of the concepts that bounce around in my head - from Brené Brown's "Sh$tty First Draft" to Michael Bungay Stanier's coaching habits to meditation helping me create space to respond rather than react.

Bottom line - it was a great audiobook that was short but to the point. Worth it! If you have read it, what are your thoughts?

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