The Unexpected Paradox of WhiteSpace

Published January 8, 2018

I am a thinker. That doesn’t mean I’m smarter or more analytical than other people. I just like to think about things.

I like to consider what I’m going to say before I say it. I like to read the instructions before I build anything. I like to consider all possible outcomes before I decide on a solution.

But, I came to understand very quickly there are only a small handful of jobs that will pay people simply to think. Most jobs pay people based on the things they do.  

In fact, most leaders have unconsciously accepted the following three half-truths:

  1. Doing counts more than thinking.
  2. Action is more valuable than pausing.
  3. Results are more important than ideas.

Because we buy into these half-truths, “doing” has become the guiding motivation for the way we they structure, manage and finance the organizations we lead.

After all, “doing” seems very logical and noble. We need to be “doing” our jobs in order for our organizations to be profitable and achieve goals.

As a result, we very seldom engage in the strategic pause of WhiteSpace. We don’t take time for quiet—to think, to consider, to dream.

WhiteSpace yields an unexpected paradox all of us must consider—the constant treadmill of “doing” ultimately leads to hazardous dead ends.

And embracing WhiteSpace leads to more efficient doing, more precise action and more profitable results.

  • When we give our teams space to think, they come up with more efficient ways of doing their jobs.
  • When we pause to consider the action(s) we’re about to take, our pursuits become better, sharper and more precise.
  • When we are given the freedom to dream collectively about our organization’s future, we create better products, better service and better results.

There are plenty of excuses why we can’t and shouldn’t embrace the idea of WhiteSpace. We must push beyond the half-truths and excuses that keep us on the treadmill of “doing” that leads to dead ends.

If we implement WhiteSpace, our leadership will become better, stronger and more sustainable.

About the Author(s)
Tim Parsons serves as lead pastor at The Journey Church outside Indianapolis, a host site for the GLS. His passion is to help people lead better—at work and at home.

Tim Parsons

Lead Pastor

The Journey Church (Indianapolis, IN)

Tim Parsons serves as lead pastor at The Journey Church outside Indianapolis. With a passion to help people lead better at work and at home, his church has been a longtime partner with us as a Premier Host for The Global Leadership Summit. He is the co-author of the new devotional for men, Equipping the Warrior and author of the soon to be released 40-day devotional on spiritual health, The Journey. You can  connect with Tim at