Updated: Feb 17
Whenever I hear “stuck in the middle” my mind automatically goes to the Stealers Wheel song “Stuck in the Middle With You." That catchy tune bee-bops around in my head - its dang catchy, right?
But if I am being honest with you...
I've been feeling stuck in the middle. (Click the link to hear more!)
Many of you know I have launched my own business, I'm on the 8th or 9th month of my podcast, I have interviewed tons of amazing women, and spent countless hours creating different material to push out because I have this deep desire to make a difference in the lives of women and in the future generations.
Somedays there are visible things to celebrate! I'll get a positive review on apple music or Spotify from someone I don't know raving about my podcast - or someone will send me a DM that a post really resonated with them, and encouraged them to put themselves out there and stop doubting themselves. THOSE days are easy days. I have something tangible to hold on to, that what I am doing is WORKING - and that it matters.
But then there are the other days... which are more frequent than those celebration days. The days when there seems to be no headway, and I feel like a hamster on one of those hamster wheels just running as fast as my little legs can carry me, but getting absolutely nowhere. I'll spend precious time on a post that I am SUPER proud of, and I think "YES! This one is going to resonate with the people!" and then WOMP WOMP WOMP.
I'll spend hours of my time investing in learning how to improve my podcast and add value to the content and how it is presented, and I don't see the numbers jump up as I had expected.
It makes me often wonder... why am I even doing this?
And I realized - this is the journey. This is where so many give up.
Because it is hard.
Because statistically, more will fail than those that will succeed.
Tangible wins are hard to see sometimes.
The "newness" and excitement have worn off.
And quite honestly, its easier to give up and throw in the towel than it is to push through the discomfort that you are feeling.
Yes- you could just give up! It would be SO SIMPLE. No more not meeting expectations - or failed social media posts! No more wasted time on reading books that don't improve my business or my numbers!
That doesn't sit well with me. Because if I give up, I'll never know the outcome. The pain of regret will be something I'll live with for the rest of my life. I need to remember that the pain of discipline that I am feeling right now, while I'm stuck in the middle of the WORK, is short-lived compared to what I will feel if I stop trying.
You see, truth be told, the majority of our lives are “in the middle" and in that middle, there is a sense of frustration, stagnation, and oftentimes annoyance that we aren't getting there faster.
Beginnings are beautiful! They are fun, exciting - and filled with possibility.
The endings are also beautiful. They provide feelings of accomplishment, nostalgia, and of pride.
But the middle? That is where the work is done. It doesn't always feel like fun. It doesn't always feel exciting. It can be hard to find PRIDE in the day-to-day work… in the grind.
But it is where the magic happens. It is where growth happens. It is where the SHIFT happens.
But how do we get there? When our little hamster legs are tired of running, and we feel like our tank is out of gas?
First, you have to celebrate each and every success. And when I talk about success, I'm not talking about OUTCOMES that you can't control like social media "likes" or "retweets" or "downloads." I'm talking about the success that you can control - such as consistency.
Make your successes tangible in a way that YOU are in the driver's seat. My success goals have always been to ensure that I am getting out two podcasts a week, that I am posting a certain number of times a week, and that I am rocking out Friday emails.
Yes, I monitor the statistics I can't control like followers and engagement - but it is not where I am hanging my hat.
The second thing you can do is trust the process. THIS IS HARD - I KNOW. So look to those who have done the work, and have succeeded. When you are "in the middle" you need to remember that there are very few overnight successes. One of my favorites to look back upon when I'm in need of inspiration and validation that hard work pays off is Sarah Blakley - the founder of women's shap
ewear known across the world as SPANX.
Sarah started SPANX on a dream in her apartment, and wrote the word SPANX on a cardboard box in sharpie marker! Now, it sits on the outside of a large glass skyscraper in Atlanta Georgia. Again though - that did not happen overnight! In her own words, she said 'I did not have the most experience in the industry or the most money, but I cared the most."
She reminds me that if I put my mind to it. If I do the work, I can make a difference. She is living proof that helps me push through that feeling of being "stuck in the middle."
Because the truth of the matter is - I'm not stuck. I'm making progress. And while it may not be something I can see each day - the growth, and the change - much like how surprised I am by my child's height chart at the beginning of the year, the growth is there, and it is happening.
The last helpful tip I have for you is the look back. Even if you are in the middle, you are not where you started. So when you are feeling STUCK in the middle, I want you to look back and remember where you were. I want you to know that there are others out there who WISH they were where you are now.
I want you to remember this one thing. You may be stuck.
But you are doing the work.
You got this.