The Middle

(I’m on summer vacation! These posts are re-posts. I have discovered a need to re-fill my creative cup. Looking forward to bringing you new and improved posts in the fall. I hope you enjoy these selected writings! Search topics of interest on my site for more related articles.)

“Every giant redwood was once a seedling. They don’t get to skip that part.” –  Sue Fitzmaurice  (click to Tweet)

There’s a recurring theme lately. People are in transition. Life is full of cycles and we’re sometimes called upon to reinvent Life transitionourselves. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to growth, breathe life into our dreams, be a catalyst for positive change…but let’s face it….it’s more than terrifying to be a seedling.

You. Don’t. Get. To. Skip. That. Part.

Seedlings are itty bitty small in a big, big world. Seedlings get stepped on, drowned, and their tender little stems are pickings for things like…well…wild pigs. Seedlings are vulnerable. Not all seedlings make it but they try, because  the prospect of being a giant Sequoia is quite enticing. Sequoias are strong, long-lived and have a fabulous penthouse view.

I’ve had a fairly varied and interesting past. (Notice I did NOT say “colourful.”) Every decade has brought transitions – new places, new relationships and sometimes, new careers. Interestingly, what was learned from the old situations bolted onto the new transitions quite nicely, kind of like Legos. Just because we leave a job or relationship behind doesn’t mean the skills and knowledge we have aren’t transferrable – THEY ARE!

I will tell you a secret. Often, during transition, there is a long expanse of time that is the “uncomfortable middle.” (click to Tweet) It is not the creamy, fluffy, goodness. This is the place where you lack direction, uncertainty becomes a way of life, the answer or direction often does not reveal itself as quickly as our fast-food appetites would like. This is not a happy place, but a place of exploration, possibilities and change. It is an uncomfortable crevasse. It’s the very thing that can send you running and screaming back to the comfort…back to the known. To get past the middle you need a serious dose of courage. You have to trust the process, your God and your gut.

How can you survive the middle?

Beginning Transition1. Trust you are where you’re supposed to be – It’s scary to feel lost. It’s also natural during the transition process. It’s tempting to want answers right away, but you might have to be patient.

2. Walk in your integrity – It can be hard to know what you want. Often, at the beginning, you just know what you don’t want. That’s a starting place. Remain  aligned with your gut, it will guide you.

3. Know, as time goes on, more will be revealed – As you step deeper into your journey, trust more will be revealed. Be open to the prospect your future may not look exactly as you envisioned. Sometimes, it’s even better than you imagined. Have faith. Faith is good.

4. Leverage your current skills and knowledge and apply them to new situations – Remember, they are transferrable. Figure out how to make the most of them!

5. Ask for help – Most people are happy to provide resources, information and light help. However, remember often the answers have to come from you. It’s your journey. You do the heavy lifting.

6. Take steps to create the future you want – Small steps can lead to larger strides. They make you feel empowered.  Not taking action can lead to being stuck for even longer, or worse, tempt you to backslide and settle. Do your leg-work whether it’s research, interviews, networking, training or volunteering.

7. Never underestimate the value of grit – Grit can be defined as: “a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective.”  Once you have direction, you may grow from a seedling to a sapling, but you’re still vulnerable. Grit can get you through it. Angela Lee Duckworth discusses grit in the video below.

http://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_the_key_to_success_grit.html

You’re smart and thoughtful. Don’t let a transition knock you down. Know it will take time and find comfort in knowing you’re not the only one ever to feel this way. Be true to yourself, ask for assistance as needed, have faith, do the lifting and tap into your gritty, bad, ol’ self. You can do it. You’re not a Sequoia…not quite yet, but you can become one!

Stand Tall,

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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own Well Lived Life by drinking in the beauty around her, following her passion, respecting others and doing her best to own her own dookie.Writer, Artist, Coach

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10 Replies to “The Middle”

  1. “You. Don’t. Get. To. Skip. That. Part.”

    Yep, profound words indeed. Whether it’s raising kids, writing a novel or painting a masterpiece there’s ALWAYS the dreaded middle. Ah, but if you stick with it you’ll discover glory on the other side. Or grandkids. 🙂

    1. Isn’t it funny, Jill? When we are in the midst of creating our future, in the middle of transition, we so often don’t see it that way? We create our futures, whether we intend to or not. That bit of information helps me live with intention!

  2. I am just reading this one and the timing is perfect. I absolutely am in a period of transition. Thanks for encouraging me to hang in there during this uncomfortable middle! I have a direction, I am just not sure where it will take me.

    1. You’re very welcome, Susan, for any comfort this post can provide as you navigate your “middle.” I wish you all the best and a very pleasant, successful outcome, whatever your endeavor. Keep the faith!!!

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