As summer approaches, our great country prepares to see a significant spike in the amount of cars on the highways. Across the nation, interstates and turnpikes from New Jersey to Wisconsin and Texas to Tucson will be jam packed with students, grandparents and siblings alike. All on their way to or from a family oriented gathering. The summer months were always a point of excitement for me not only because school had come to a brief end but because I had the opportunity to hit the road and visit family. Everything was great until we came to a bridge structure that was abnormally large. My heart would sink into my stomach as we drove across. Not that I had a huge phobia but it was a point of concern every single time.
In life, just as on trips, you will eventually come to a bridge. There will be areas you desire to enter but you will only experience it via crossing a gap in the landscape. Interestingly enough, a gap is defined as an opening in a landmass, a breach or point of severance. So gaps are places where we have to make the decision either to cross or turn around. We all face these times and situations. It could be the difference between seeing success or enduring another defeat. Dr. John Maxwell says it like this, "People aren't winning because they don't know why they're losing." The moral of this quote is we all have these blind spots or areas of vulnerability that exist in our lives. Without the proper assistance, we miss them and they become the "gap" that keeps us from success. This is where we struggle the most. We would be further along if not for those pesky gaps.
Reminiscing on trips and enormous bridges started me thinking about the gaps that have shown up the most in my life. I identified a couple that may sound familiar:
(1) The Relationship Gap: The very hub of our human existence is deeply rooted in the relationships we connect with. We are built to work together; it's in our DNA. I feel that the many who say they are "anti-social" naturally have mistaken previous experiences with others that were negative as a character trait. Being "anti" to the very way we are wired is a learned behavior or survival skill we acquire along the way. At our core, we long to have meaningful relationships. When they are lacking, we leave ourselves vulnerable to a lifestyle without balance. There is no one there to help us identify blind spots or weaknesses that are bound to be costly.
(2) The Skill Set Gap: As a coach I work with people to identify and operate in their own unique skill set. Struggle appears to help us notice we have left our "sweet spot." When you are in your "spot" or skill set, you have a flow about you. Things line up or you feel you're in the zone. Life just clicks. That is the space you were created to work from. Not struggle, sweat and hard labor. When we don't understand the purpose for something, abuse is inevitable. Abuse is the compound of two key words - abnormal usage. When you know a thing's purpose, you can utilize it in the manner it was created. The same goes for us!
(3) The Discipline Gap: Peter Drucker once said, "Simply put, culture eats strategy for lunch!" I take that to mean in life, what we are is just as important as what we do. Have you ever known someone who had all their ducks in a row, an incredible concept and all the makings of a star? But along the way time after time they would always fall short of life's expectations. I would venture to say they didn't struggle with strategy, but a core culture of discipline. Without it, kings are reduced to paupers. That is why graveyards are the saddest place on earth. Millions of dreams, visions and innovations have gone there with the host and died; never to touch the lives they were engineered to. Once the gap of discipline has been successfully crossed, our fullest expression is released.
Hopefully as the warmer climate approaches you are able to get the family out to enjoy it. Nothing beats the ultimate life hack of fresh air without Wi-Fi and landscapes you'll never have to touch up on your computer. If you drive long enough in any direction you'll be faced with a bridge or two. As you cross, remember that life is the same way. If you never take the time to build the structures to cross, you will remain stuck and limited.