You Can't Skip Day Two
Last night I was participating in an inspiring conversation with the incredible men and women in my deep coaching community (one of my professional peer groups). We were discussing the journey of transformation and how often, after increased awareness and the discovery of who we want to become, there can be a disconnect between the knowing and the commitment to action. Sometimes it can be excruciatingly painful to know exactly what you want to do and who you want to be but still not be able to make those changes.
When this happens, if you are anything like me, you feel like a failure.
Up until now.
I will back up a bit to explain. I have recently read Brené Brown's Rising Strong. In it, she refers to her facilitation course The Daring Way and how the second day is the hardest and most difficult for her students. No matter how hard they try, there is nothing the course leaders can do to make it easier. Then one day, the realization washes over her that you can't skip Day Two.
Day Two, or whatever that middle space is for your own process is when you're in the dark. The door has closed behind you, you're too far in to turn around and not close enough to the end to see the light.
Just like the children's book, We're Going on a Bear Hunt, "We can't go over it, we can't go under it. Oh no! We've got to go THROUGH it!" (Here I am jumping from a highly esteemed thought leader to children's books author but who's kidding who, Michael Rosen's wisdom is brilliant and if it weren't for children's books like this, bedtime could be the death of me. But I digress.)
Fast forward to today. I am now reading Chade-Meng Tan's, Joy on Demand. In it he shares a parable inspired by the poem Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson,
Day 1: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I do not see the hole. I walk right in.
Day 2: I walk down the same street. I see the deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk right in.
Day 3: I walk down the same street. I see the deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
The hardest day is Day 2. On Day 2, you can clearly see the hole in the sidewalk, and you can clearly see yourself walking right into it, and still, you are unable to stop yourself. But Day 2 is a prerequisite for Day 3. Only when you can clearly see how you fail will you be able to overcome the causes of those failures. So when you find yourself in Day 2, know that this is a natural progression to Day 3 and if you keep practicing, you will soon develop the ability to walk around the hole.
The "ah-ha" moment for me is this. The messy middle is exactly where you are supposed to be.
It is so excruciating to witness yourself making the same mistakes over and over, especially when you have a clear vision of your destination. But perhaps there can be some comfort in knowing that you must experience this. Almost like a rite of passage, this part of the journey is necessary for you to be able to create this new path.
For me, that 'hole' is yelling at my kids, snapping at my husband and mindlessly eating junk food (to name a few). I do any of these and I beat myself up knowing that I have the tools, knowledge and awareness to make different choices. In fact, I know exactly what type of parent, spouse and person I want to be. The commitment is there. Yet, sometimes, I see myself walking into the 'hole' of reaction instead of responding from my heart.
Next time you see yourself walking into that hole (whatever that is for you), you see it coming, you know it's there and you walk right into it anyway, see what happens if you can offer yourself the grace of understanding that without the failures, you would not be able to reach your desired destination.