We get excited by big ideas. We imagine the finish line which can motivate us to start. Then the middle happens - the work. The fog rolls in, the path is unclear, the work is hard and the finish line fades into the distance.
Most of life happens in the middle. This is the place where diligence, rigor and discipline are required so we don’t give up. Moving through and carrying on are required to get to the finish line and prepare us for our next start line. And the middle is the heart of the journey that really matters.
When I finally launched S3T a month ago after working on the concept for three years, I felt the excitement of the start, the adrenaline of launching something new. And now, the work really begins - that pesky middle. Daily effort, rigor and time are the main ingredients of successful endeavors that matter. It’s hard to do this on the side while working full-time and having other responsibilities and commitments. I’m writing this now at 10:30 pm when I want to go to bed. But every time I get lost in the middle, I choose to dig in and keep moving, well aware that I’m not where I want to be but I’m on my way to creating what I imagined.
In spring, I committed to complete the backyard landscaping this summer. I drew up the plan, wrote down the steps and started in every day. Getting it out of my head onto paper was the first really important step. It made it real. Defining the specific tasks and order helped prioritize the plan with deadlines. There were some days that I didn’t want to start. Sometimes I gave myself a break, but most of the time, I made myself do at least something to keep the project going so we could enjoy the yard for part of the summer and into the fall.
It took several weeks to get old block moved, wood chips raked up, rock and dirt brought in, the soil tilled and then the final touch of sod. I wanted to go from tiller to sod, but that’s not how it works. Each step leads to the next and builds on the next one after that. And the further we get into the work, the finish line becomes more clear and attainable. Progress gives the gift of confidence as well. We are much more capable than we give ourselves credit for.
Do the work, get the results. It’s simple and hard all at once. And absolutely worth it.
We can spend months and years wondering and pondering. But there comes a point when we need to decide to do it or drop it. And dropping it is alright too. Letting go of things that aren’t important anymore allows space for new things to enter.
If you are in the middle right now, keep going. The middle is the only path to the finish line.