Are you in the “in between”? Do you have an inspired idea of something you want to do, but you’re just not in a place to do it yet? It may be because you need to change your circumstances. It may be because you actually don’t know what’s next yet – you just know that what’s now is not right anymore.
Today, I want to go deep on that time and what it means. In one-way or another, we are all in that time. There is always some life change on the horizon. That time between figuring out you need a change, what that change should be, and the inspired action that brings the next phase in can be a true test of your sanity.
In March it will be almost 3 years since I entered one of the most challenging “in between” times of my career. I was sitting in my boss’s office, on my birthday no less, and I had the sudden and terrible realization I had to quit. We were discussing some very difficult challenges for the organization and the actions he and our VP would be taking, and I had a stark realization that I couldn’t continue work for him or the organization and stay in alignment with my integrity.
I had no idea what I was going to do when I left though. I took a deep plunge into what Kate Northrup calls “the fertile void”. The fertile void can be terrifying. It can also be mystifying, and full of wonder. I found myself somewhere in the middle of those two. I was really curious how it was all going to work out and energized by the ideas I had about this completely foreign next phase, yet I wasn’t sure I could take another day of the “in between”.
Although I knew I had to quit, I still had a job to do. I knew I couldn’t quit until the next steps revealed themselves. I had faith they would, but at the same time I had to get through the terror of my day job. There’s nothing more humbling than to come to work every day and try to mitigate the tornado of bad decisions that are being made by your superiors.
The “in between” time is MESSY. You are being called to a higher version of yourself, yet you’re surrounded by evidence that tells a totally different story. So many of us are in this in between.
It could be a side hustle that you’ve started in hopes it can be your full time job, and you’re losing patience with how long it’s taking to grow. It may be that your side hustle is just a part of the story. You might be like me and need 4 hustles to make the transition!
Maybe for you it’s not a work challenge. It’s a relationship that you know is over, but you are still in the middle of the process of figuring out where the relationship is going – romantic or not. It could be challenges with a close friend you no longer feel aligned with, or a teenage child that is testing your ability to adapt as a parent. How you show up in that “in between” can mean the entire world to those closest to you.
What I have for you are 4 tools that supported me in that harrowing “in between”. These tools build on each other, but once you have a foundation in each you may bounce between them depending on your journey:
1: Take time for yourself to get clear on your fertile void. Take stock of what you know, and what you don’t know. Give yourself permission to envision what the next phase might look like. You don’t know what seeds to plant in the fertile void if you’re not clear on what you want your garden to look like in the summer. Take the time for this on the regular. For me it was weekly. Every Saturday morning I would spend in quiet, asking questions and praying for answers. Little by little they were revealed.
2: Lean hard on your spiritual practice. If you meditate, add an extra 5-10 min to your meditation, or meditate a second time each day. If you pray, pray longer and spend thoughtful time designing a positive outcome. If you are involved in a spiritual community, volunteer for something and put your hands to work doing something that inspires you. If you aren’t spiritual, devote the time to yourself and self-study through books or one of many classes that may spark your interest. The key to this tool is to get outside of your head and participate with renewed commitment to something of a higher good.
3: Surrender your plan for a better plan. While our minds are great at coming up with something for us to focus on, this can also be a distraction from a better solution that wants to come in. This step is crucial for making sure you stay out of your own way. As my friend and mentor Gabby Bernstein says often: This or something BETTER. That simple prayer elevates the mind to be open to something better that you can’t even imagine right now.
4: Take inspired action. Once you’ve dug deep to figure out what you desire, focused on your relationship with that of a higher good, and surrendered the outcome – it’s time to be on the outlook for inspired action. What is inspired action? I’m talking about action that comes from curiosity, a desire to make a positive impact, a sense of connectedness, or simply because it sounds fun. These actions might scare you sometimes because they require you to get uncomfortable; however, they never feel depressing or heavy. The latter is a forced action, and we want to stay very clear on the difference. Inspired action is how your internal guidance system aligns your energy with that “better plan”. For me, it was volunteering at a conference, reaching out to people in my network that were doing work I admire, and visiting the Management School at a local university.
Through these tools, I sustained a 6 month “in between” knowing I had to quit and the day I actually left that job. I believe that time was needed on many levels, for the right people and solutions to organize and give me the wings I needed to move into the next phase.
What is the “in between” you’re experiencing right now? What support do you need to implement the tools above? Let me know in the comments!