“The most important thing you can do is do a lot of work . . . It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” —Marie Forleo, Everything is Figureoutable
Have you ever felt as though, while you know you have made the best and most beneficial decisions in your life along your journey thus far, chose to improve, change and grow as you became aware of opportunities and necessary instances, that you still haven’t arrived at who you envision yourself to be? As if there is this unending limbo period and you continue to be walking on a treadmill that actually doesn’t never seems to take you to the arrival point , even though it is headed in the right direction?
Welcome to the gap. Or should I write it as the Gap. Let’s capitalize it because it is not a small thing in our lives, and let me assuage any doubts that you may have about whether or not this is a good place or necessary place to find yourself: The Gap is a necessary place to find yourself along the road to where you want to go. Don’t turn back. You are not on a treadmill, and I promise you, you are making progress in the direction you want to travel.
Marie Forleo explains this truth through the journey of an artist who chooses to share their work with the world. Dares to be vulnerable and begins to create. And while they have good taste, they have a viable idea, it will take time to hone it and strengthen it before it becomes the art that will be understood as art and convey the message and sincerity they, and only they, can share with the world.
Why does it take time, you may ask? Partly, because we are students of what we are called to do and/or become (i.e. our new selves), and so we too have to learn valuable lessons along the way. The other part of this time we are calling the Gap between our old selves and our new selves is that many external factors come into play that are beyond our control. Similar to the six stages of change, each while known and continue to prove to be true, contains acknowledged limitations even in this time-tested model that was created in 1970. In other words, even if we are doing everything as best as possible, other factors beyond our control may delay our arrival time at our desired “New Self”‘s destination. But that doesn’t mean we won’t arrive.
In fact, I would argue, and have experienced in my own life in a variety of aspects, that these uncontrolled variables happen to force us to confirm to ourselves that indeed this is the path we want to be on. We are being asked a fundamental and necessary question: How innate is the desire to reach this new self? Or is it been placed upon us by outside influences. Often it only takes one or two roadblocks that we cannot move easily to thwart progress forward if our desire isn’t intrinsic to who we genuinely are and our true selves; however, on the flip side, when a roadblock occurs and it is our true selves leading the way, that is when our creativity delves deep, our focus often sharpens and we zone in giving more energy than we knew we had.
Let me use the most globally recognizable cycling competition as an example, Le Tour de France.
Your new self is at the end of the 21-day race located in Paris. Each day of the race is different. First of all, you are not going to be on the race route if you don’t want to be there. So there must be an element, many elements, that bring you joy and enjoyment as you cycle all day in all sorts of weather through all sorts of terrain. Case in point, I was listening to one of the cyclists being interviewed this year, and he spoke with a wide smile and great anticipation about a tough climb that would be the next day’s route, stating, “I love climbing and am looking forward to tomorrow. It’s my favorite part of cycling. I am so happy to be here and be on this race.” Now, to a non-cyclist, what he is about to do appears to be absolute hell (pardon my vulgarity), but truly, an impossible feat and tortuous to the body. But to the contrary for this cyclist. He genuinely loves this chosen career path, and for him, it is his good fortune to be able to have the opportunity to climb that mountain for 150+km. This also extols another truth, we can only know our own journey and what tugs at our heart. Others do not have to understand these tugs, and we must not ignore them because that sincere love is the fuel, the energy, that pushes us over any obstacle that may arise.
“I have never, ever, EVER met anyone who’s regretted following their heart.” – Marie Forleo
So back to this analogy of leaving Spain (that is where Le Tour began this year) and eventually arriving in Paris. Leaving the old self (Bilbao, Spain) and arriving at the new self (Paris, France). The route is chosen, it is something – cycling throughout the countryside on roads with fellow cyclists – that you genuinely love doing even if there are tough moments, unexpected moments (torrential rain or fog, or even snow!). You wake up, nourish yourself, pedal for 100+ km, rest, prepare and begin again. You love this and you believe in it. You have been given the ability (physically, mentally, financially, etc.) and you said yes to training to make the team you are on to be part of the race. Swap all of the verbs and verb phrases (training, make the team, rest, prepare, nourish, pedal, etc.) to terms that fit your chosen journey. Maybe it is write, publish, save, invest, design, educate, train, — whatever your medium, know that your journey of events and cycles of growth will be unique to you and the time in history (on the calendar) that you are engaged with your journey. In other words, don’t compare your timeline with someone else’s who may have been pursuing the same, or similar, outcome. Simply by the fact that they have attained what you are now inspired to strive for is evidence that their time in history is different than yours so different variables will come into play.
Keep in mind that your journey’s route will be unique, and know that ’21 days’ may or may not take 21 days. In other words, be patient. Don’t rush, don’t give up, keep wisely going forward, making the next right move forward, followed by the next right move forward. I share this because yes, there have been deaths on Le Tour de France (four riders, the rest spectators or officials of the race), but let’s focus on the riders to stay with our analogy. Don’t push beyond what is wise for your circumstance. In other words, don’t rush (take a corner too dangerously), don’t ignore what your well-being needs (it is okay to do less so that you can do what you do better) and don’t jump the gun and celebrate too early (spend all that you’ve worked so hard for on fleeting items that don’t support your journey going forward).
One of the many pieces of good news about finding yourself in the Gap is that you have made the difficult decision to change something, to take a leap, to take action, and that action is leading you in an exciting direction that has promising outcomes. No doubt you already tasting some of those promising outcomes from time to time as you journey forward. Hold those moments in your mind when you begin to doubt yourself. They weren’t happenstances. They occurred because you chose to change, because you chose to grow, to address something you knew would be best for the improved quality of your life journey.
I chose to write about this topic today because I too am on this journey. I too find myself still in the Gap in different areas of my life at this very moment, and upon reflection in other instances, I too found myself in the Gap and thankfully kept striving forward and finally arrived where I hoped I eventually would. One of those destinations is talked about in great depth in my recent book – The Road to Le Papillon: Daily Meditations on True Contentment, and because life is dynamic, new and other journeys continue to move forward, the Gap again arises, but what is different this time is that I carry with me this truth of how the Gap will arrive, it will be experienced, but it is not a permanent point I will reside, so long as I keep striving forward.
There can and will be moments of fear, but as I have shared many times before, fear arrives (it is important to differentiate the fear we are speaking about today between the fear that involves an immediate threat that we see before us concretely) because we are headed toward an unknown or doing something we have never done before and the ‘not knowing’ drives our Lizard mind bezserk. (Doubt is different – discover the difference here.) I appreciate how Marie Forleo describes what is actually going on within us when we are feeling said fear:
“Fear is excitement with the brakes on. It’s just energy. Fear can be instructive and directive. It’s a guide that’ll show you exactly where you have to go.” – Marie Forleo
So how do you traverse the Gap and successfully arrive on the other side of it, attaining and experiencing the New Self you have consciously been working toward?
- Keep your focus forward and honor the clarity you have found to know you started soundly – head in the direction that honors your true self and what it needs to blossom.
- During times of confusion or difficulty or uncertainty, move through the steps shared by Divya Parekh in her Success Pyramid:
- 1. Awareness (acknowledge your unwanted feelings);
- 2. Ask/Assess (focus on what you can change, leave the past in the past, solutions forward, no dwelling, only learning and applying moving forward);
- 3. Allow (be kind to yourself, give yourself the self-care you need to pause, take a breath, and experience what you are feeling so you can move through it healthily and accurate ascertain what and why you are feeling it);
- 4. Accept (“bring mindfulness to the choice you are making without judgment”, as well as reflect, give appreciation, confirm your values and your reason for your focus as well as acknowledge your successes, no matter how seemingly small, that you have achieved thus far);
- 5. Adapt (If you cannot be mindful in that moment, do something productive for your mind and being – exercise, go outside, breathing practice – meditate, step into your fear to learn more about it, dance it out if that works for you to move through this uncomfortable moment and walk away with a clearer mind);
- 6. Action (first, analyze what is the next right step and why you know it to be so, and when you know it is the next right step, take action);
- 7. Achieve (“As you stay the course and focus on your goal from a place of peace, you will achieve success”)
- Practice patience and be gentle with yourself. In other words, be kind to yourself. Don’t give up (that too – refusing to give up – is being kind as you continue to believe in yourself), but give yourself what you need to keep going in a healthy mode of travel.
- Ask for support and help as necessary and is constructive.
- Be reassured, whether by reading this post again, reading other books and/or articles (I highly recommend Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo) or listening to someone who knows you and your potential (which is amazing! and yes, you can do this!).
- Enjoy the journey. Savor the good moments, of which there are no doubt many, whether others understand them to be or not, and definitely revel in the great and awesome moments of which more will gradually begin to occur.
- Arrive. Welcome to where you were heading and becoming this entire time. You did it. This is your life. I knew you could do it. 😌💛
“You’re always being led to your highest good, as long as you have the courage to listen.” – Marie Forleo
Thank you for stopping by today and exploring this topic of the Gap between your Old vs. New Self. I hope you gained something of value for your life journey as we are all traveling our unique one, and each will have different paces, turns and experiences, but something I hope that will bring even more comfort as you journey along is knowing I know, intuitively and emphatically, how hard you are trying. Don’t discount your efforts thus far. Be kind to yourself and hang in there. You are already giving yourself a most priceless gift: the belief that you deserve to fully be who you are. And the world thanks you for that for honoring yourself by doing so. Thank you for your courage. Be well and bonne journée.
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