Does Getting in the Middle Work?

Whether it’s in diplomacy or working things out in a family, being in the middle will rarely achieve more than a band-aid’s worth of value. Sometimes, our issues are no more than band-aids, but usually when we allow ourselves to be in the middle or look to others to get in the middle, there are significant expanses to traverse and inefficiencies to address that can be endemic. Creating a quick fix does not address the true impact of the gap. And that can mean that you are dealing with the same kind of issue again just weeks, days or hours later.

Sometimes we get in the middle because it is uncomfortable for us to deal with the friction of the conflict in our space. It’s truly more about us than it is about both parties moving on in the best possible way. If it stops, we are relieved. But like most fixes, it won’t stay that way for long, so even in a selfish way we are not doing much for ourselves, let alone the main parties involved. If we bring others into the middle regularly, then we probably have a great opportunity to expand ourselves and deal with conversations that we normally pull away from.

Encouraging people to do the hard things, to tell the truth, to work on their issues themselves without a go-between, to look deeply at their own responsibility for how things have gone instead of just helping them get over the hump of the problem, will always lead to a greater potential for growth. They may not choose to do that, but then they are left one step closer to addressing things head on, because one method of avoiding the consequences of working things out is now off the table.

If you are going to involve a third party and don’t want to wind up in the same place again, then be sure to be open to feedback, to look as carefully at what you are bringing to the issue that makes it go the way it is as you are looking at the other person and making it about them.

This isn’t easy, but facing the same thing over and over again without it changing fundamentally is a lot more difficult, we just are limited to only hindsight being 20/20. There’s no reliable way to tell the future and see that the issue you’re dealing with now is one you’ll be confronted by over and over again. If we knew, we’d see that the time to address things head on is right now.

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The “You Can Do It” Crowd

I’m a coach and serve the empowerment of people. Being that I’m a representative of this movement to some degree, I want to address hyper-empowerment and the impact of “look at me” empowerment.The look at me stuff usually involves memes about everything you can accomplish, how wide open this oyster’s shell of life is, displays of physical beauty or wealth by societal standards, physical acts of determination and public displays of gym activities.

None of those things are bad. Plenty of them are lovely, for sure.

But there is also nothing bad about not being one of those people that feels this way about life…yet, or ever.

It’s ok if you never climbed a rock wall.

It’s ok if you feel like there is someone inside of you that you could be but haven’t been.

It’s ok if you’re not a tough mudder or cross-fitter.

It’s ok if you don’t feel you resonate with messages of how amazing life is and can be.

And it’s ok to love and appreciate those whose lives do seem to look like this without feeling pressure to be anything like them.

Peace with who you are and are not is truly the great gift of the empowerment game. It’s the starting spot (not line because there is no one direction to go in) and it can take plenty of valuable work just to get there.

Nothing authentically powerful is available without the clarity that leaves “shoulds” behind. This freedom makes real joy possible, the kind that connects to who you are and have always been before there were any pressures to “be somebody”.

If you struggle with any of this, the pull of needing to be somebody, to be impressive or just to keep going in the same direction every day in this life you set up for yourself by following rules and doing the right thing, doing what your younger self thought was a good idea. If you struggle to find or hear your inner voice amidst all the noise of life and our minds, don’t let the (seeming) clarity of others get under your skin or make you feel like you need to be more like them. Spend that time and energy looking, discovering who you are and letting those voices fade out, whether they be mom and dad, friends or the endless stream of messaging we see every day.

It’s not easy, but it is worth it to find that peaceful center. True empowerment, where nothing at all has to happen. Here, our choices start to come alive, because they become clear reflections of who we have always been.

These are truly my favorite conversations. The ones where we get to discover who you really are (who I am, too!). It’s a front row seat to the greatest show on earth…freedom.

And you don’t need to want that, either.

Love,

Gregg