For when you’re in “the middle”

The other day I was jamming to Pandora and had a throwback-to-high-school moment when “The Middle,” came on, by Jimmy Eat World. I was listening to the lyrics and contemplating the things going on in my life right now, and a fresh understanding of the song washed over me. “It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on…. It just takes some time, little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride.” It really spoke to me!

In City Year, we have a culture piece called “Putting Idealism To Work.” PITW is a set of over 100 guidelines and helpful hints to make your year more successful. The message of this song reminded me of PITW #33:

Everything feels like a failure in the middle — keep going!

This insight came to us from Harvard Business School professor, and City Year Board member, Rosabeth Moss Kanter. In every planning process there is first a burst of creativity and excitement — and then suddenly it seems as if everything is falling apart. Guess what? You’ve reached the “middle.” Keep working and it will all come together.

If you’re at that spot in your life where you think all your projects are failing, you’re in a rut with your relationships, or your professional plans have fallen through, you might be in the middle. This was me, last year, at this time. The job of my dreams (or so I thought) had been given to someone else. I had no plan for the future and little confidence that I would finish my year of service strong. I wanted to do it, but I was just too down on myself. Nevertheless, with a little time and perseverance, I got out of “the middle.”

If this is you: it’s okay, don’t panic. You’re a fighter – you’ve made it this far and there’s no way you’re going to give up now. You’re way savvier about your life than anyone else and you’ve got your positive can-do. Whatever you want, you’re going to find a way to get it.

Me? Turned out, I got a job that was even more fitting for me, and I’ve had so many more opportunities than I could have hoped for. So, Hey! Don’t write yourself off yet. Do your best; do everything you can, and everything (yes, everything) will be alright!

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2 thoughts on “For when you’re in “the middle”

  1. Totally agree! I feel like this period, early twenties, is filled with lots of middles. Relationships are changing (friends and romantic partners), school is ending, career is starting – with everything changing you sometimes feel like you are failing at everything too! Thanks for the great post, just the positive boost needs while I am in a very strange middle point today!

  2. Pingback: For when you’re in “the middle” (via asktheintp) « Inspire. Ignite. Mobilize.

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