Starting something is a rush, yet keeping it going can feel like a drag. I call it the Middle Mile Syndrome, and here's 5 simple ways you can beat it.
You've started, now what?
You’ve turned the shiny doorknob on that freshly painted door, and opened it with gusto - a grand entrance that deserves an applause. But, maybe nobody told you that there could be a long, and sometimes narrow corridor behind it.
We live in a culture that praises the start-ups, but tends to neglect the carry-ons; the ones who chip away faithfully on their idea, long after the crowd has dispersed.
What is the Middle Mile Syndrome?
The first mile, all of us can do. Going the 2nd mile is about excellence, and enduring the 3rd mile is about persistence. It’s the moment when the Middle Mile Syndrome kicks in. It’s the mile others often don’t see you driving, except perhaps for your nearest and dearest.
So why is it that some us can persist when others succumb? I've strived (and sometimes) struggled to be a person who creates, commits and completes. Anyone who says they've mastered all of these, probably doesn't have a pulse.
You’re still reading, so maybe you and I aren’t that different. Here’s 5 key things we can both do to master the middle mile.
1 - Take Ownership
Sometimes I need to be reminded that the projects I started were by choice. When examining progress (or lack thereof) it can be tempting to apportion blame to other people and circumstances. Take responsibility. Take complete ownership of the incomplete.
2 - Recall the Reason
When we start out in life after school, we emerge full of dreams, plans, aspirations and curiosity. As the rhythms of life’s routine set in, we forget about the hopes we once held for ourselves.
Do a quick mind audit by looking at the mental picture we previously held of our future, and then contrasting it with the one we hold now. Are they different? Be reinvigorated by recalling the reason that motivated you to start.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” - Walt Disney
3 - Progress not Pause
Great endeavours aren’t reserved only for the talented, they’re built by the diligent. Pull the veil back on many of society’s geniuses, and you’ll find people who are indeed extraordinary, but who also had a willingness to out-work others. Diligence will help us to progress, rather than pause.
“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” ― Michelangelo
4 - Choose to Connect
Two of the ways we sometimes struggle to connect are socially and emotionally.
Living in regional/inland places may have its geographic challenges, but it’s no reason to feel socially disconnected. We live in a global village, where technology bridges the social divide faster and cheaper than ever.
Do you feel like others just ‘don't get you’? Don't expect everyone to understand the venture you've started, or how it feels to be walking the middle mile. The good news is that there are plenty of people who do! Seek out emotional encouragement by those who have ‘been there, lived that’.
If you truly desire to feel heard and understood by others, push past your comfort zone and choose to connect.
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued… they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” - Brené Brown
5 - Apply Agile Thinking
When the middle mild syndrome sets in, we find ourselves in a rut. This is when agile thinking will keep you moving. I'm a creature of habit, and find it easy to slip into habitual thinking and behaviour.
What can you do to untether yourself from patterns of the past? Push yourself to try new things, experiment and innovate. Even the smallest changes will help you to develop agile thinking.
Now that you've discovered 5 simple ways to beat the middle mile, It's over to you keep up the pace. Like you, I need people who understand my strengths, weaknesses, and what it's like in between. Below are some questions we can ask ourselves, and each other, to be people who create, commit and complete.
In all you do, #livetoaccomplish, N.
Actions for the #LivetoAccomplish mindset:
- What outcomes am I yet to take full ownership of?
- What are the original reasons I started the venture I'm currently struggling with?
- Which Books, CDs, Podcasts, Audio Books could encourage me to continue what I've committed myself to?
- Are there things I can do to improve how I connect with others?
- Do I have a balanced understanding of perseverance? It's not about being unmoving, unchanging, being stubborn or not having the awareness of when to move on.
- What patterns of the past can I ditch? Are there new ways to experiment?
- What words do I need to add to my vocabulary? Perseverance, tenacity, determination, resoluteness, purposefulness, patience, endurance, diligence, dedication, commitment, persistence, stamina.
Copyright 2016 Nathan Shooter