Place is about more than four walls. Place is made up of what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. It deeply influences mood, creativity, and productivity levels.
We’re all affected by our surroundings, whether or not we’re consciously aware of it. A setting either energizes or drains you. It either relaxes you or contributes to stress. It’s either inspiring or discouraging.
Not convinced that place matters? When is the last time you had a great board meeting at Perkins? (No offense, Perkins.) It’s simply not the right setting. If we pressed you to tell us why it’s not the right setting, you’d say, “It’s too loud. Uncomfortable vinyl booths. Fluorescent lights. Everything smells like hash browns.”
That’s place. It’s not an address. It’s a sensory experience. Place incorporates layout, design, acoustics, light, and space.
Board meetings at Perkins is an extreme example. Some elements of place are a little harder to pinpoint, but they still have dramatic impact. If it’s a few degrees too cold; if there’s not quite enough natural light; if the desk layout facilitates distraction from others; if the fabric-covered cubicle walls that were originally deemed economical are actually soul-draining — this matters.
Most of us are pretty good at paying attention to place for the big moments in life — the perfect wedding locale, for example. But what about the everyday? Isn’t that every bit as important — perhaps even more so?
Pay attention to the place where you spend your days. Is it beautiful? Elegant? Inspiring? Does it have a story worth telling? Does it make you want to create your own story worth telling?
If not, perhaps it’s time to find the right place.