Mind the Gap

A change in season or year has psychological significance. The beauty of any change is that it inspires self-reflection. We can get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and neglect to consider the direction in which we are hustling.


Enter the subway station analogy that I will overuse in this blog post…


My family vacationed in the UK a couple of years ago, and like other London Tube users, we were admonished to “mind the gap” at every stop.


Because, in all the tube station hustle and bustle, it is important to pay attention to where you put your feet.


So, if every new year is a subway stop, each change in decade must be an intersection of several lines. (I warned you…)



How do you mind the gaps in your life and work?


You are riding along the subway train. It approaches the next stop, the doors open, and you are told to mind the gap.


But, what gap? Is it the space between the train and the platform, or, is it the gap between where you are and where you want to be?


Take the opportunity to mind the gaps between where we are and where we want to be.


Unlike the train platform, there are many areas of life for gaps to exist. BUT! Not all of them are equally important to you, nor are the gaps equally wide.


It is important to mind the right gaps.


One of my clients is a school principal. She is a motivated professional who wants to continually improve her work and life. During a coaching session, we discussed her goals for the year. She immediately listed three career advancement goals and was ready to move on to the next topic.


Then I asked her this question: How big is the gap between where you are and where you want to be in your career?


Her answer: I am exactly where I want to be. I just want to continually hone my skills.


While that answer would make Edwards Deming do a happy dance, I knew from coaching her for several months that she had other gaps in her life that she wanted to address. And, she had not set specific goals in those areas.


So, we did the following exercise adapted from my eBook, Set Goals…even if you’re not convinced you’ll achieve them:



First, list the major categories of life and work where you strive to achieve balance.


Use this list if it works for you:

  • Career: Your work
  • Financial: Your money
  • Health & Recreation: Your body and mind
  • Family & Friends: Your tribe
  • Community: Your involvement in or service to your local or global community
  • Spiritual: Your soul
  • Household: Your peaceful and comfortable abode


Second, rate the degree to which there is a gap between where you are and where you want to be in each of these categories.


1 = no gap between where I am and where I WANT to be

2 = small gap…

3 = moderate gap…

4 = meaningful gap…

5 = big ass gap…


Notice how the word “want” above is emphasized. Do not…I repeat…do not mentally replace the word “want” with the word “should” when evaluating this list. For goals to be motivational for more than a week or two, you have to want to achieve them.


Third, set your highest priority goals in the areas with the largest gaps.


You likely cannot do everything you want all at once. You must triage.


Decide what actions you can take in the coming months to reduce the most troublesome gaps.


Read this post for some tips on setting goals that will motivate you and inspire action. If you want to get serious, spend four dollars and buy my eBook.


Goal setting is very powerful in how it directs our behaviors.


So, yes, mind those gaps.


But make extra special sure you are on the right train.

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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at getproductive@melissagratias.com or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.



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