Time comes up regularly as a theme in my coaching. It arrives as an issue irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, occupation.
“If I can find the time…” is the main thrust. All time in the future is pre-determined as being used.
And this is an honourable statement, if at times being a first line of defence for anticipating difficulty in getting something done that is new.
Time is taken up with socialising, family, employment, finding the way through the day to day struggles, survival.
As a coach I think about issues that people bring to their coaching with me. It’s part of developing empathy.
I found something profoundly useful about time, reading “Life lessons from Henri Bergson” by Michael Foley. Bergson was a French philosopher, writing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. What I have taken from him has provided a haunting structure – it just stays with me. In the chapter, “Learning to tune in to the melody of duration,” he offers time as a melody. “When we listen to a melody we have the purest form of succession…..” There is no before and after. All is held in a unifying form. Being in time. Time as duration. Bergson notices, “we normally place ourselves in spatialized time. We have no interest in listening to the uninterrupted humming of life’s depths. And yet, that is where real duration lies.”
I needed to do more thinking and have some more input. Waterstones offered itself as a constructive pass-time while waiting for the car to be serviced. I was intrigued and hopeful finding a new hardback, by an exec coach focused on time and its value in all aspects of life – but it had a correctional edge and something of the should and oughts about the exploration. It wasn’t for me.
As I browsed through the whole of the “Smart-Thinking” section – there was nothing obviously addressing time and its dominance of individual lives that I could find. And then I came across the slimmest volume. Seneca’s “On the shortness of life, Life is long if you know how to use it” one of Penguin’s Great Ideas collection. Seneca died at 61 in 65 ABC. A long time ago – and he writes about the same struggles that I hear about in my work in 2018… “You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire… How late it is to begin really to live just when life must end!”
It is clearly a human condition to use time poorly – and to struggle to appreciate its value and quality. What will you do next I wonder?