When I’m pondering what I want to write about, different titles pop into my mind. Many times I have little idea what they may mean. For example, here are a few that have yet to fully tell me what they are about: “Rumi, Willie and Ralph,” “Dreams on a Haystack,”  “My Angle of Repose,” “My Gravestone Will Say Starting Over,” “When Life Sucks, Use a Bigger Straw.” Someday, we may discover why these particular titles appeared.

Today’s title came from a discussion in a Clarity™Circle.  One business owner was telling us she was significantly reducing the size of her fitness studio space and the burdensome high lease payment. While she was excited by the reduced overhead and had some creative ideas of how to use the new space for other services, she was concerned what her clients would think about the much smaller space. Would they think she was going out of business, etc.? I said, “It sounds to me that you are just expanding into a smaller space.” The phrase became a tagline to her move.

There were many years in my life when expansion meant opening more locations, moving up the corporate ladder with a bigger title, having a larger team and a larger paycheck, owning a larger home, driving an expensive faster car (okay, this is still an expansion desire). I was always a little disappointed with either my inability to make it happen or succeeding and finding myself humming the lyrics of the old Peggy Lee song, “Is That All There Is?”

When I realized I no longer wanted to be an employee as part of someone else’s team; negotiate the politics I was seldom good at; or be a boss and have employees, I went to work for myself, by myself, in the spare bedroom. Twenty-two years later, I still work from my home office, and I’ve expanded in so many ways:

  • Expansion of my own personal spiritual and professional growth—I need to constantly improve my product, which is primarily me.
  • Expansion of my personal freedom from wondering if the boss will fire me.
  • Expansion of my ability to criticize my boss (me) for lack of performance.
  • Expansion of my tolerance for the ambiguity of revenue rather than the insecurity of a weekly paycheck controlled by someone else.
  • Expansion of being able to focus my energy on doing the work that I love versus projects championed by others.
  • Expansion of my self-acceptance—and learning to manage my self-doubt.
  • Expansion of my engagement with my daily work. It really is up to me.

What does expanding into a smaller space mean in your life and work?

To an ever expanding life,