I was standing next to my five-year old son who was playing shortstop in a tee-ball game on an overcast Saturday morning. The air was thick and the sky threatened rain. Most of the little boys didn't really want to be playing. They were outnumbered two to one by the other team. Many of them seemed like they'd rather be parked in front of the TV watching Paw Patrol.
The pervasive attitude among the players was contagious. I tried to remain spirited and enthusiastic. My son was drawing pictures in the dirt with the toe of his right cleat, waiting for the occasional ball to roll by.
As I advised (read: aggravatedly nagged) Anderson to pay attention for the twelfth time, a little boy from the other team glumly walked from second to third base. His attitude was so sour I had to stifle a chuckle.
Because the baseball league uses the five-year old games as training, he wouldn't be "out." but he would, personally, make the play drag on...and on.
His attitude made me think about all of the times I've been in the middle of the "game" and wanted to be somewhere, anywhere else besides moving slowly from point B to point C.
How often are we in the middle of a situation and wish we could just be somewhere else? I know it's not just me. (We'd rather not admit it but, life coaches experience humbling, couch surfing low points, too.) We get to the middle point, you know, the part that requires perseverance and forging forward just becomes painful. Home plate isn't in sight and we aren't even to third base yet.
New Horizon Strategies Executive and Organizational Coach, Laurie Peterson uses the Hudson Transition Model in her private and group coaching sessions. The model is broken down into four quadrants. Albeit somewhat over-simplified, the top left is "going for it", the top right is the "doldrums", the bottom right is "cacooning" and the bottom left is "getting ready." The boxes flow from one to the other. As the names imply, the doldrums might mean couch time in pajamas with a spoonful of peanut butter, and vision for the future in the cacooning stage may look a little foggy.
"We all want to be going for it," says Peterson. She calls the phases in between, "a natural time to be processing things. It's here," she says, "that you develop purpose and passion."
But the space in between isn't comfortable, is it?
In life, no matter if we're going for it, recovering or in between things, we're still in the game, so to speak. We can't be up to bat all of the time. We can't play the coveted role of first base for the whole game, either. Peterson advises that the time in between is a time to "give yourself grace and to be kind to yourself."
Like the little boy had to continue moving toward third base, grace and kindness translate to actionable steps in the game of life.
How might using grace and kindness translate in your own life? What if you give yourself permission to walk, even slowly, through to the next season? With that permission, how might you connect with life and your support system differently? I know for me it looks like simply showing up in life - even when I'm a little disheveled and don't have it altogether. It looks like continuing to reach out to the people who have hung in there with me and "have earned the right to hear my story," as Dr. Brené Brown so eloquently says.
So, here we are. Whether we want to be or not, we're in the middle of the game. No one is keeping score and as long as you have breath, you're not "out." Be heartened, you're not the only one.
How might you benefit from a little grace and kindness in your life right now? What would it look like for you? One foot in front of the other. Keep swinging. Keep walking. Keep forging forward. The middle part is a real part of the journey. Remember, it's the time to find or reacquaint yourself with purpose and passion. You're just where you're supposed to be right now.