You are “here.” You want to be “there.” In between here and there is what I call “The gap.”
It is the tension we feel when we have a dissatisfaction- a goal, a desire, or something we want to be different.
Some of us thrive in that tension space because it motivates us to keep growing, stretching, reaching and moving forward to achieve our end goal.
For others the gap is that place where the tension we feel results in us feeling demotivated, discouraged or disillusioned as we find ourselves not quite yet hitting the mark.
Think about times you have been in the gap. Focus on one specific situation personally or professionally when you experienced tension in a distressing way. What did you notice? How did you feel?
Think about your business or job… where do you currently have awareness that you are “here”, and want or need to be “there?” There, could be the end goal of increasing sales, merging with another company, or reinventing your business model in the season of Covid-19.
One thing for sure, life presents us with plenty of opportunities to be “in the gap”.
What is your gap situation currently and how are you dealing with it? If I were to ask the person closest to you how you are managing it, what would they tell me? How would they describe your mood, attitude, demeanor and energy level?
I rarely see people in the gap who are “neutral” or just cruising… for the aforementioned reasons. For many, the unknowns in the gap are too anxiety provoking pushing them toward worry, anxiety, stress and sometimes even feelings of helplessness or hopelessness.
Other people display enthusiasm regarding what they are doing in the gap, and the hope and excitement they feel for what is next is palpable. They are taking action, seeking guidance where needed, looking forward while they engage in a process of thinking, talking, planning and taking control of the elements that they are able to control. They look forward to the journey as well as the final destination.
There are many influences that combine that steer us in one direction or the other. Everything from genetics, brain health, family of origin experiences and modeling, in addition to previous challenges where we exhibited self efficacy can all combine to influence which path we choose in the gap.
If you are someone who is prone to fear, anxiety, worry or distress in the space between where you are and where you want to be, this is for you.
First, focus on you, not your circumstances. Realize there will nearly always be circumstances that you cannot control, at home, with relationships or in dealing with your business or work.
Take the time to bring the best you to the table by intentionally and consistently engaging in great self care. Moving your body, eating a good healthy diet, staying connected in safe ways, and getting 7-8 hours of sleep are some of the best self care basics. Engaging in other destressing activities like deep breathing, yoga, prayer or meditation will further enhance your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.
Understand the gap is part of life. Remind yourself that the gap is not a horrible place, rather it can be a place of hope, transition, transformation and path to dreams fulfilled. It is likely that your best opportunities have been born during a gap phase. In that tension space we tend to become more aware and more intentional about our thoughts and options in moving forward. Instead of seeing the gap as something to fear, view it as the beginning of a new beautiful chapter in your story.
Remember that risk is part of life. In the beginning of my business ownership journey, taking risks would terrify me. Then I realized, if I think about challenges as opportunities to experiment- consider options and try out the ones most likely to result in my desired outcome, it all seemed to go better. If the choice was successful, the business and the people we serve benefit. If that particular choice or choices were not successful, we had a great learning opportunity which is valuable in moving forward. I had to learn to shift my attitude and realize the gap was the bridge by which forward progress could be achieved.
The Gap is not going anywhere.
If anything Covid-19 has brought us more opportunity than ever before to realize how quickly things we took for granted can change, how many things can truly be out of our control, and how we need to have good brain reserve ( helped by good self care) to be able to be resilient in the gap. While feelings of despair, distress and disillusionment can feel profound, it is imperative that we realize they are feelings which give us clues we ought to pay attention to.
We can use our emotions intelligently and change course by shifting how we think about being in the gap.
Next time you feel some tension welling up in you over a personal or business matter, close your eyes, tune in to how you are feeling, take some deep breaths and enjoy the journey.
Now you can confidently be in the gap and keep your eye on the prize one step at a time.