Mind the Gap – Moving to the Right Side of Your Potential Gap
by Erika Slater
“There’s nothing wrong with you that what’s right with you can’t fix.”
Insoo Kim Berg
The London Underground (subway) system is the oldest in the world. If you travel on it you’ll be reminded to “Mind the Gap” as a train pulls into a station and you get ready to board after the doors open.
From Wikipedia: “Because some platforms on the London Underground are curved and the rolling stock [trains] that uses them are straight, an unsafe gap is created when a train stops at a curved platform. In the absence of a device to fill the gap, some form of visual and auditory warning is needed to advise passengers of the risk of being caught unaware and sustaining injury by stepping into the gap. The phrase “Mind the gap” was chosen for this purpose and can be found painted along the edges of curved platforms as well as heard on recorded announcements played when a train arrives at many Underground stations.”
Having lived in London for many years in an earlier life, and hearing this constantly, the warning was burned into my unconscious. So, it wasn’t any surprise when I could see its relevance to clients I saw with problems of gaps in where they were today, and where they wanted to be.
THE POTENTIAL GAP DEFINED:
We all have unrealized dreams. Maybe we’ve had them since childhood or they’ve grown on us since adulthood, or we were touched by somebody we wanted to emanate. It can be a career or wealth, or a role we want to play in our community. It doesn’t matter because the effect is the same… a gap.
We each have a large potential. It could be physical – such as the athletic kind – or it could be some other level of success such as being an entrepreneur, or being a loving spouse and parent. You’re on the path heading in the right direction but you just can’t seem to bridge… the gap to your potential.
We know what we want to become, and see other’s achieving it but we can’t seem to figure out how to bridge the gap for ourselves. We’re left on the wrong side of the gap.
We mostly know what we need to do but can’t seem to consistently follow through and take action, or when we do it just doesn’t move us forward. We continually flounder on the wrong side of our potential.
The space between where we are today and where we want to be is your POTENTIAL GAP.
Andrew, one of my clients, had a “potential gap.” He wanted to move into management at his company but was stuck in a lower-level role. He spent a number of years getting a degree outside work which required dedication and commitment for himself and his family. Finally, Andrew got his degree finishing near top of his class, and he thought he’d arrived! But he was soon reminded life rarely follows the path you map out.
While his immediate managers recognized Andrew’s talent in producing outstanding work in his current role, and knew he now had a business degree, it never materialized into promotions. Andrew saw others leapfrogging over him and he begun to get despondent.
He was stuck, and wondering how he was going to realize his career potential. He begun to focus on the gap between where he was and where he wanted to be.
PLEASE… MIND THE GAP:
The London Underground announcement and signs remind us to “Mind the Gap.” It’s there for our safety and is responsible. They want you to focus on “The Gap” to make sure you’re not injured by a misstep or falling under the train!
But when it comes to any potential gap in the life we’re leading now, and the one we want for ourselves, we really don’t want people to obsess on their “gap.” It can create inertia and a focus on what you haven’t achieved, and you end up in quicksand, slowly sinking and being covered by negative energy. So, when we say Mind the Gap in this context it’s aimed at making sure you don’t slip into obsessing on your gap at the expense of focusing on moving forward.
Back to Andrew… Andrew was focusing on his gap of where he was today and where he wanted to be. While this is a worthwhile exercise to pry out what you may need to do to close the gap, it quickly became a constant reminder to him of his shortfall. Viewing the gap can be a positive or negative experience…. But for the majority it’s a negative experience. It’s this way because as humans we are naturally programmed for survival and therefore our attention goes to thoughts of anything we need to avoid.
Left unchecked for long enough it can quickly turn into a “looking for blame” exercise to justify why we are “stuck” where we are. Everything from internal blame such as “it’s my fault I just don’t have it in me”, to external blame as in, “it’s the company’s fault they just don’t recognize my potential to give me the chance.”
Hal Elrod in his book “The Miracle Morning” calls this constant internalizing “Gap-focus, the human tendency to… focus on the gaps between where we are in life and where we want to be, between what we’ve accomplished and what we could have or want to accomplish, and the gap between who we are and our idealistic vision of the person we believe we should be.”
So how do we move on from this to get to the right side of our potential?
GETTING TO THE RIGHT SIDE OF YOUR POTENTIAL:
Yeah, right! [sic]
While you can get inspired by reading a book on self-improvement or tricked into thinking you’re better again after taking a placebo-laden pill, the fact is nothing really changes until you… take action!
Whether the continuance of your gap potential persists because of your own limiting-beliefs, lack of self-confidence, motivation, or consistency, or due to your value being undermined by the judgement of others, the next step is up to you.
Nothing will change until YOU CHANGE!
But changing something is difficult… before it gets easy. The first hurdle is to stop thinking continually about where you want to be – the end result. I know, this goes against all the self-improvement stuff thrown down your throat. The recommendations you see from gurus demanding you always have the end goal in sight. The problem is the end goal can be overwhelming and cause your brain to shut down and lead to an overdose of… procrastination. And keeping it in sight to them means posting it up on your bathroom wall as a constant reminder of your gap every time you pee… I don’t think so.
All you need today is… the next small step.
If the gap we are talking about is like a Grand Canyon-type gap – as in humongous – then you can’t leap across this size gap in one leaping bound! Even “Evel Knievel” couldn’t do that on his specially engineered rocket-fueled 1 million cc bike!
WARNING: Please don’t get me wrong here and think I’m suggesting you don’t have big dreams and keep your end game in focus as you determine your next step. I’m not saying that. You should “fantasize” about where you want to be, but don’t obsess over it to the point where you constantly drift into negative thoughts about “the gap” to overcome to get there. You must have it clear where you want to be, and have a vision of what it looks like to… arrive at your other side. This is, after all, “the stuff that dreams are made of.”
But today, don’t focus on your gap… instead, you need to think about the next small step you can take today to move you towards your potential.
The next step should be small enough you can do it… now, or within the remaining hours of today.
What’s it the Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu said millenniums ago? “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Still true and going strong as an inspirational statement. The perfect antidote to procrastination. You see even the Chinese have suffered with procrastination!
You want examples to help? Fair enough…
- If you want to run a marathon but never done a 5k road race before, start today with a 5-minute walk with your dog. It’s good for your dog as well. If you don’t like walking with your dog then choose a friend. If your dog is your only friend then maybe your next step is completely different.
- If you want to own your own business then write a list of your strengths of what you know and what you like to do. Don’t filter anything today… that’s the next step.
- For a goal like financial freedom – this is likely for most a Grand Canon-type gap – then work out what you need for a monthly income to live modestly. Assume you’ll not inherit a bank or win the lottery… if either of these do happen then please contact me directly as I’d really like to get to know you better.
Hopefully, by now you get the point and understand don’t get overwhelmed and let your next step be such a big or scary one it leads you to procrastination.
In theory after you’ve done the next step, then you work out what the next step is, and then the next, etc.
But eventually, the theory will break down and you’ll need to do something scary… or as the self-improvement gurus like to call it… something out of your “comfort zone.” Think of your worst nightmare such as visiting the dentist for a root canal, or cold calling that contact at a company to try and make a sale! The fact is at some point you’ll have to do something to grow… and the truth is it’s never as bad as you think it will be!
Okay, a root canal is as bad as you think it is! But, as far as I know nobody has ever been traumatized for life by it. BTW: If you know anybody who has then send them my way as I specialize in hypnosis sessions to help those folks!
So, what happened with Andrew? Andrew was able to get off being fixated with his gap long enough to consider his options for next step. It wasn’t easy as he was needing to change his perspective, and finally he came to the conclusion his next step was moving companies. People just don’t always do what you want them to… and companies are full of well… people.
The decision eventually for Andrew was a different path to get to his end result of moving into management. He got there one step at a time until it was the obvious choice.
There’s one more topic to cover today and that is… consistency.
The “next small step” process is simple and straightforward, but it requires you to do it every day – weekends as well! After all, training for a marathon requires you to put some miles in every day rather than once a week.
I saw a sign recently that said “No exercise for 7 days makes one weak.” Well, I thought it was funny and relevant!
Likewise, getting to financial freedom means making small changes every day and not once a month. If you know your expenses today are impacting your ability to save for the future then make decisions each day to help to grow your nest-egg at that bank you now own.
The fact is most people need “consistency to be consistent.” Hmm, what do I mean by that seemingly cryptic statement?
Being “consistent at being consistent” means taking time out each day to pay attention… nee bring focus… to what you want to do that day to move you forward towards your potential. If this sounds a little ritualistic to you… then you’re right… although I’d substitute ritualistic for the much more powerful word of “habit.”
This practice of being consistent can take many forms.
In the Hal Elrod world, this is “The Miracle Morning.” Julia Cameron, author of the “The Artists Way”, discusses similar concept of “morning pages” which is a daily habit involving stream of consciousness writing. Many people read a few pages of a book every night before they go to sleep, or rise early and go straight into their exercise. Doing daily affirmations is a popular first, and/or last, activity of the day… and for those practicing affirmations they’d never skip a day lest the spell be broken.
The important point here is these become habits – see more in my own article covering habits linked to in the resource section below. Conventional wisdom suggests it takes 30-days to implement, a new habit. My own view working with clients is adding a new habit is quicker than changing a habit but can still be a lot longer than 30-days. Changing a habit can take many weeks, months, or even a year. For example, thinking you can change all your diet and emotional habits around food in 30-days is not realistic and takes focus and long-term commitment to change your lifestyle permanently… but that’s another topic for another day.
I’d argue you owe it to yourself to implementing a daily habit of taking time for yourself to create a positive mindset for the day, and where you work out the next step on all the sub-goals you have around your life. And you commit to do this every day for 30-days – yes, weekends to. You’ll find if you keep a visual calendar and mark an “X” in the box every day you do this “time for yourself” habit then you’ll want to keep the chain unbroken and it’ll stretch out beyond 30 – 60 – 90 days and beyond.
This “time for yourself” doesn’t have to be first thing in morning, it can be last thing at night or during your lunch hour. Many people do their “miracle morning” or equivalent at all hours of the day. The point is don’t get wrapped up in making excuses why you can’t do this… yes, you can.
If you want to consider working directly with me on your personal challenges and gaps through my online and in-office sessions, then check out my Special Hypnosis Services Programs.
I started with explaining the origin of “Mind the Gap” as it relates to the London Underground system. We could argue over a few drinks (if you’re paying) on whether this phrase is a negative or positive warning. As the intent is to save mishaps and accidents then I’d consider it ensuring safety which most would consider a positive outcome.
When it comes to looking at one’s potential gap and fixating on it to the detriment of closing it then I’d argue “Minding Your Gap” is a debilitating negative thought, and in order to get everything in life you want out of it, it’s time for a change supported by positive habits.
If you lack self belief or just need help in getting to the next small step then consider hypnosis as an option. Many hypnotists can help with confidence or you can check out self-hypnosis sessions like this one from hypnosis downloads here >>>
What’s your next small step? Share below in the comments section or just write me through our contact form. I’d love to hear from you.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO PERSONAL CHALLENGES:
Erika Slater CH
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DISCOVER HOW TO START CHANGING HABITS TODAY.
In this free audio hypnosis session, you’ll experience the power of your subconscious mind to begin to change your habits. If you've never experienced hypnosis before then this is a great introduction...