For the most part, we tend to focus on where we want to be and how we want to get from here to there. Even in these articles, I often invite you to think about how to be 'here' and/or how to get 'there'. That has a time and place, which is helpful. At the same time, we don't often talk about what we need to make it through the 'in between' moments, which often lead to powerful shifts in your personal and professional lives. What do I mean by that? For example, these moments can be in:
- Between starting a new job and actually getting into the swing of it
- Between learning how to have hard conversations and feeling more at ease having them
- Between a relational rupture and repairing that relationship
- Between understanding something new about how you move through the world and integrating it into your self-concept
- Between starting a new business culture and getting the buy-in you need to make it sustainable long-term
- Between starting a dream project and the moment of realizing that all your hard work was worth it
- Between starting small changes in your every day life and realizing that they've added up to a whole new reality
- Between recovering from a heartbreak of any kind and feeling hopeful again
- Between finally getting used to a massive change and facing another change/challenge/opportunity
The interesting part of this is that you're nearly always navigating an 'in between' moment in some aspect of your personal and/or professional lives. So, what do you truly need to hang in the tension of the 'in between' moments long enough to get to the possibility of what's on the other side? Nervous system flexibility aka your nervous system's capacity to adapt to change. It determines your capacity to adapt to change through physiological and psychological safety. Below, I outline 5 skills based on what I'm learning with clients and through my own processes about what can support your capacity to adapt to change, challenge, and opportunity over time:
1. Practice: the skill of viewing any change, challenge, and opportunity as practice. By viewing change as a practice in adapting, you remove the pressure of having to navigate it 'perfectly' and add the benefit of repurposing what you learn now in the future
2. Discernment: the skill of differentiating between your assumptions and reality; between your adult self and your inner child; between the people who will amplify your strengths and those who will amplify your doubts; between the practices that you need to be consistent about and the ones you need to let go of; between excellence and perfection; between the places that nourish your Why and the places that deny or deplete it
3. Anchoring: the skill of getting clear about the relationships, places, experiences, activities, and practices that help you come back to who you want to be. These help you anchor in what you believe in, how you want to move through the world, and why
4. Consistency: the skill of coming back to a practice without judgement. Practicing consistency from a morally neutral lens, where temporary inconsistency is not good or bad, removes punishing judgement. That type of harshness can keep you from picking back up from where you left off. This approach lessens the inner conflict of going from 0 to 60 and going nowhere at all, viewing success and failure as mutually exclusive, and/or having difficulty navigating gray areas
5. Translation: the skill of communicating with yourself and others in ways that meet each person where they're at. For example, someone might resonate more with humour, metaphors, in person conversations, texting, or phone conversations. Meeting yourself where you're at by adjusting your own language and expression in ways that are respectful, honest, and clear with yourself lower confusion for you system. The same goes for adjusting your language in ways that people feel like you respect them, like you were honest with them, and as though you were clear
When it comes to strengthening these skills, here are 3 questions to consider:
Which skills can most support you depending on the 'in between' moment you're navigating right now?
Which skills can help you support your teams, families, friends, and/or community as they navigate 'in between' moments?
What might be opportunities to practice these skills in low stakes situations to make them more available to you in higher stakes situations?
For more on how you can support yourself and yours through moments of change, challenge, and opportunity, follow me on Instagram @valenbrics