When using the subway system in London, you’ll hear a very British expression when the train pulls up: “Mind the gap.” I find this expression a pleasant way of warning passengers to be careful of the gap between the deck and the train.
As a coach, part of my role is to issue the call to “mind the gaps” as clients board the train to true potential. Gaps are often disguised as frustration, defeat, anger, worry, fear, or hopelessness. Without becoming aware of the nature of the gap, it is difficult to make progress and move forward.
“Gaps in our lives drain the positive power to make a difference in the world.”
Hyrum Smith, The Three Gaps.
The Three Gaps
The Belief Gap– Is there a difference between what you believe is true and what is actually true? This could be beliefs about yourself, your situation, other people, or firmly held ideas. Ignorance of this gap causes you to create an inaccurate story about life. This inaccuracy may lead to inappropriate and/or destructive responses for yourself and others.
The Productivity Gap– Is there a difference between what you did today and what you said you would do? This could also be called the effectiveness gap. We feel discouraged because we are not accomplishing our goals and dreams. We are not using our time and energy effectively to accomplish what is most important. Possible suspects in the creation of this gap include procrastination, lack of focus, and poor task/project management.
The Values Gap– Is there a gap between what matters most to you and what you are doing? Words are easy; living authentically by core values is a challenge. Your best intentions to live by core values can be derailed by the fierce competition of less essential things vying for your time and energy. Violating the values gap comes with a high cost. That cost is the loss of spirit, passion, and purpose.
“Vitality is the result of living your deepest values.”
In a very real sense life is about bridging the gaps in our lives and in the world around us. Finding and then minding the gaps will empower you to live authentically and impact your sphere of influence.
How to Mind the Gaps in Your Life
Assess– You will need to challenge yourself honestly to bridge gaps. What is the nature of your gaps and what needs to change?
Align– Find your True North. What matters most to you and what are you willing to do to live in those values? What is the picture of your preferred future?
Action– What are your next steps? Be clear and specific with a time line. Remember you take small steps to cover the gap, not a giant leap.
Finally, share with a friend or spouse the gaps you see, your vision for the future, and what you are going to do to get there. We all need allies as we mind the gaps of life.
Go make a difference!