This quote is one which makes me laugh because it’s not only true, it applies to SO MANY different parts of our businesses, from making products to running the actual business itself. It should probably be called “The Life Process” not just the creative process because this pattern of thinking has happened to me ANY time I’ve tried something new – learn to decorate, start a new job, take on a fitness challenge, make a new friend, have a difficult conversation. In Brene Brown’s book “Rising Strong” she talks about how our lives are made up of stories, roughly divided into three parts. The second part is ALWAYS the hardest bit – it’s the part where we have to find the solution, fight the battle, live the ugly parts. If you think about any book, movie, play or TV show you’ve experienced lately, you’ll see this three-part pattern existed there too. The beginning is where it all gets set up, the middle is where it gets interesting – slash – scary and the end is where it gets resolved, only to go on and repeat another day with a different story.
One of the suggestions Brene has is to RECOGNISE this second chapter – or middle bit – of the story as both essential and important to the story overall. I mean without the big problem, there really IS no story at all is there? It’s what makes life and business interesting, even if it’s painful getting through it.
People are often surprised to hear that even though I own and run a business I’m hugely proud of (and seem confident all the time), I still have days when I’d rather crawl under the covers and pretend I never started this blog in the first place. I truly think that three-part story process is just part of the business of being in business – or the business of being alive, really. I have yet to find a perfect way to deal with this, although my “attitude of gratitude” certainly helps a lot. Since reading Brene’s book I try to hate that second chapter a little less – and instead of jumping into the emotional black hole of “This is all terrible,” I try to think, “Oh yeah, this is kinda familiar, this is the crappy part. This is what’s meant to happen before it gets good again.” I have to get through this to get the reward of a good story at the end. You’d be amazed how often that works to keep me going – even in the middle of a walk or workout, I think, “This is the sucky middle bit, I’ll feel so good when it’s over!”
Today’s post is a reminder that you’re not alone in all of this. We’ve ALL felt the pain of the middle chapter and lived to tell the tale. Next time you find yourself wanting to fall into that dark hole, remember this: everything is figureoutable. The best stories, either our own or those we watch and read, are filled with ups and downs, ins and outs – that’s what makes them story worthy in the first place.
You’ve got this.
You just have to recognise the middle bit is the hard part but also the worth it part.