We’ve all experienced it. You started your year with clarity, energy, and vigor. Your goals were set, you saw a clear vision for your future, and you felt ready to take on the world even if your goal was quite a stretch.
And you had a pretty good start! In January and February you dug in and dug in hard. You had good traction and you knocked a couple of goals out of the park. You felt great about the first quarter, and you were excited about taking that momentum forward into the rest of the year.
And then it happened. Slowly at first – almost imperceptibly. The momentum started to slow, your vision started to get a little foggy, and your goals (which were so clear and crystalline a few months ago) started to feel more distant – maybe a little vague, like a fog-shrouded street instead of a super-highway.
And now? Where are you with relation to your year’s goals? Maybe you’re way ahead of expectations. If so, you’re awesome! Congratulations!
But if you’re like many of us, you’ve reached the middle of the year and your results aren’t quite as strong as you were hoping. Maybe they’ve fallen a little short. Maybe they’re not even close. And maybe you’re feeling a little stuck, even a little overwhelmed. You’ve reached that all-too-familiar place where once exciting goals go to die.
Welcome to the "messy middle."
Best selling author and productivity expert Michael Hyatt coined this term to describe the beginning of the place where you’ve lost your forward momentum. In Michael’s words: "You have a big goal. You’re excited just thinking about what it will be like to achieve it and enjoy the rewards. Then you get to the ‘messy middle.’ It’s that spot where everything is harder than you expected it to be. The hill is steeper. The road is longer. You are not sure you have what it takes to finish."
If this is where you are, don’t feel bad. It’s not your fault – you’re in good company. For many of my clients this is the single most difficult time of the year. Their momentum seems to be slipping away and the larger danger is that their goals will derail completely if they let themselves stay stuck.
The good news? It can be easy to recapture the clarity and momentum. The key is to take action and not give in to feeling stuck.
What’s the best action to take? In his blog post What are Your Options When You Are About to Miss a Big Goal?, Michael discusses three choices you can make when you find yourself in this situation:
Recommit – Refocus on your goal make sure you’re connected to your "why" – your reason for committing to your goal in the first place.
Revise – Adjust your goal recognizing there may be facts or circumstances that you couldn’t have known about or anticipated when you originally set the goal.
Remove – Sometimes the best choice is to recognize that circumstances dictate you defer or even delete the goal from your list.
I believe these are all very solid recommendations, and I would add a fourth: Request.
In 18 years of coaching and being coached, I’ve learned that it can be extremely difficult to break through the messy middle by yourself. on the other hand, it can be straightforward to break through and regain your traction when you just request a little bit of help – just a little bit of perspective from someone you know has your back.
The "messy middle" is the point in the year where your annual goals are made or broken, and a small investment for one or two hours of coaching from a trusted advisor may just be the best investment you make all year long.
It’s recently become crystal clear for me that one of the biggest challenges we all face is receiving: allowing ourselves to experience being supported. I’m going to ask you to open your heart to the idea of receiving support.
The other thing that I’ve known with absolute certainty for a long, long time is that recapturing your momentum and traction is so much easier and straightforward with just a little bit of help and perspective. Candidly, if we could go it alone, you and I and everyone else would already be past this and out the other side.
So find an advisor who’s got your back and reach out with your request, and work together with so you can stand at the end of the year and say, "I kicked butt! I knocked it out of the park!"
You’ll be very glad you did.
Want to find out if I’m the trusted advisor who can help you? Click this link to schedule a few minutes to talk (on my nickel).
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