How to Stop Living in the Middle
“The problem with living in the middle is that it prevents you from making extraordinary time commitments to anything. In your effort to attend to all things, everything gets shortchanged and nothing gets its due.” — Gary Keller
I spent a long time living in the middle… and didn’t even know it. I went for ‘okay.’ I settled for overachiever (rather than fierce risk taker).
Even as a child, when people would ask me how I was doing, my response would be ‘fine.’ I gave up some of my biggest dreams settling for a ‘normal’ life… as if there was some prize given out to good girls who opted out of phenomenal and into sufficient.
And years later, nothing about my life was different. I wasn’t astronomically more successful. I didn’t have the sense of peace, calm and serenity that so many people proclaim you’ll have when you ‘accept what is’ or ‘release expectation.’
No, the loss of my boldness didn’t bring me peace and it never gave me a sense of fulfillment… and that’s when I realized the lie of living in the middle.
Everybody’s doing it so we believe that’s the way life goes.
Living in the middle gets you nowhere fast. It drains you of your life force. It steals your self-esteem. It gets you to buy into the lies of a mediocre life. The beauty of the middle is that very few people can stay there forever.
We’re born to be exceptional. Our calling speaks to us constantly. There is no ignoring a call to a different life… even if you never go there. We can either choose to wake up and live or choose to stay asleep and coast. Either way, we’re always conscious of the decision that we’re making.
So I’ve woken up from being in the middle. I see now that the middle is not where I want to be. Maybe you don’t want to stay in the middle either.
So what do we do about it? How do we change the trajectory of our lives when we’ve been so comfortable with being ‘normal’?
1. Decide ONE thing you really want to accomplish in the next 90 days
Write it down. Put it up on the wall. Save it in Evernote. Review it DAILY. The key is to pick and stick to ONE goal. Not two, three or four… ONE for the next 90 days.
2. Allot a MINIMUM of 4 hours a day, 7 days a week to working on that ONE thing.
The 4 hours a day, 7 days a week is non-negotiable. If you REALLY want this, you’ll make time for it. The frequency of putting in the work daily builds mastery at a super fast rate. As Don Miguel Ruiz put it, “Repetition makes the master.” It’s critical that you commit to four hours a day and that you develop the rhythm of doing that four hours a day seven days a week. No exceptions, no excuses. Go ALL IN…
3. Post a result and a deadline… and then get totally immersed in the process
Put it on a poster board, a vision board, a post-it note. Put it somewhere that you can see it every day, all day. No hiding from your commitment. Whatever you do, make the deadline real, relevant and urgent for you. I can’t say this enough: if you don’t believe you can deliver on your deadline, you won’t do what it takes to follow through. Your belief in the power and necessity of that deadline will decide what you do every day.
4. Make it fun
This shouldn’t feel like drudgery or pushing a boulder uphill. No matter how much of a distance you feel between where you are and where you want to be, find a way to make it fun. Be creative. Use colored pencils. Dance every thirty minutes. This is YOUR journey. Make sure you’re enjoying it every step of the way.
5. Be intense and focused and relentless
Intensity and velocity, when matched with consistency, produce relentless focus. It doesn’t matter how far you are from the goal. If you get so determined that you put WHOLE mind into PRESENT action every day (and do so with intensity and speed), you will get to your goal. And, by getting to that first goal, you’ll show yourself that you can replicate that again and again with even bigger goals.
But you won’t accomplish this goal going lukewarm. You won’t get there half in and half out, sometimes committed and, at other times, feeling lazy. Lukewarm won’t give you the results you want. Own what you want by doing whatever it takes. #period
6 Keep going until you get there
Remember setting a deadline? Good. Once you set it, forget it. In other words, review the deadline daily but, when you are doing the work, forget about the deadline. Your stance is: “I WILL be here UNTIL…” That means no expiration date on the dream. No deadline that signals you have the right to give up. You don’t get to quit on this. You are committed to being in it until you win it. There is no Plan B. So… give all you have to all you do every day and forget about the clock.
7. Start all over again with the next goal
This practice doesn’t end after 90 days. It’s not over once you achieve the first goal. Notice I said first. This is a way of life. Being excited and focused and relentless is now how you will move through the world. So once you achieve that first goal (and you will), guess what you do next? Set the second goal and light the dream on fire. You are not simply the Phoenix Rising. You are the entire experience. Move with the next goal and make it happen again and again.
Because you don’t want to achieve the first goal and then think that your achievement of it was because of ‘luck.’ No… You need to show yourself that you can achieve any goal using the same system NO MATTER WHAT. The only way you do that is by doing it again and again and again. Crushing goals is now your life. Live it!
Here’s the thing: until you expect more from yourself… and then deliver it consistently, persistently over a long period of time, you’ll never know what you’re capable of. The only way to truly know is to get up this minute and begin the work.
That’s what I’m doing. I’m inviting you to do the same.
All you have to do is say YES and take the next step…
And remember: being stuck is the greatest form of losing. When you’re already at the bottom, there’s only one direction to go: UP...
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Kassandra Vaughn is an author, relentless focus coach and podcaster originally from Danbury, Connecticut. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Vassar College, an MBA in Human Resource Management from Auburn University, and an M.Ed in Instructional Design from Western Governors University. She lives in the beautiful state of Wyoming.