“Mind the gap.” During the six days I spent in London recently, I heard these words every time I rode on the subway. “Mind the gap between the train and the platform.” It is good advice…even if you aren’t getting on or off a train.
If you’ve ridden on a subway anywhere in the world, you know there’s a space between the train and the platform. However, it’s easy to forget this fact and, potentially, get your foot caught in that space. The announcement made at each stop of the London subways called my attention to that gap—so I would remain conscious of and avoid it.
Become Aware of the Gap
Most of us go through our life paying little attention to the gaps—and there are many of them. Our lack of awareness leaves us prone to fall into these holes.
For instance, if your health and fitness level could be improved—you aren’t as healthy as fit as you’d like— then there’s a gap between the health and fitness level you want and the one you have, right? To get to where you want to go—better health and fitness, you have to either step over or fill the gap.
Stepping over the gap would mean experiencing the fantastic miracle of improved health, like spontaneous healing, for instance. While such miracles are few and far between, they do happen. When it comes to fitness, however, there are no miracles—just the hard work of exercise. That means you have to fill the gap.
With no awareness of a gap in your health and fitness, you might suddenly become ill—fall into the hole. Or you might find yourself struggling to keep up your energy or discover you have a fatal disease. Awareness helps you realize you need to do something, so you avoid stepping into that space been good and bad health.
Shrink the Gap
With awareness, you can turn your attention to figuring out how to remove, shrink or fill the space between where you are and where you want to go. Generally, to improve health and fitness, you might need to sleep more, start a daily exercise regimen, or go on a diet.
Maybe you unhappy with your relationships. A gap exists between the type of relationships you have and the ones you want. Given that you experience these relationships, or maybe one relationship, on a regular basis, you have already become mindful of the gap between where you are and where you want to be. But you can’t just step over it.
How do you travel from the “train” to the “platform” or vice versa of a better relationship? You could go to individual or couples counseling. You might decide to spend more quality time with the people in your life, to seek out new friends or romantic partners, or to speak up about your desires for a better relationship. Any of these activities will lessen or remove the gap in your relationship.
*How to Find Your Gaps
Let’s say you sense there are gaps, but you aren’t sure where—or you’d just like more clarity and awareness. Think about where you feel there is a space between where you are and where you are going or want to be—like wanting to be on the platform after you depart the train.
No matter where you are now and where you want to go, a gap exists between the two. Maybe there’s a gap between your current income level and the one you want and need or the time you spend at work and the time you spend on your passion project. Become mindful of these spaces, and then ask yourself how you can remove the gap. What will you do differently? What steps do you have to take to get from here to there? Brainstorm ways to close the gap.
Still struggling? Get out a journal, and list the different areas of your life—health and fitness, finances, career or job, relationships, hobbies, family, and friends—anything that is important to you.
Next, answer this question: “What gap do I need to mind?”
Once you are aware of the gap, ask yourself this question: “How do I get from the train to the platform? How do I close or eliminate the gap?” Your answer becomes your action plan.
For example, if your finances aren’t where you want them to be, eliminating the gap might mean considering changing jobs or determining what type of situation would best serve you and your bank account. Ask yourself, “What three steps could I take to increase that income level?” Ask powerful questions to discover the steps you need to get closer to your destination.
You want to move toward your “train stop,” but eventually you also want to get off the train, to arrive on the platform, and then look for the steps that take you to the exit—your next destination.
Don’t Fall into the Gap
Awareness of any gap in your life helps reduce your chances of falling into it and getting stuck. Not sure what that would look like? Imagine a wife who comes to her husband and says, “I want a divorce.” The husband is shocked. Why? He had no idea there was a problem. He wasn’t mindful of the gap in his marriage—or at least the gap his wife thought was there.
Think about a woman working at her job. The boss comes in and fires her. She’s shocked. She asks the boss to explain his decision, and he says, “Well, you are late too often, your work contains errors, and you spend a lot of time in the break room. So, I’m letting you go.” She had had no idea that there was a gap between her and her boss’ perception of her work. She wasn’t mindful of the gap.
Rather than being surprised when you find your foot—or entire body—stuck in that space, become aware…now. Be proactive. Remind yourself to “mind the gap.” That’s how you travel smoothly and pleasantly from where you are to where you want to go in any area of your life.
Are you mindful of the gaps in your life? I’d love it if you left a comment below and told me.
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Photo courtesy of Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash