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EP23 | Making it through the Messy Middle

Uncategorized Jun 02, 2022

What exactly is the messy middle? Are you comfortable with where you are and are in need of a challenge? How do you achieve greatness? In this episode of the Create Purpose Podcast, Zach reframes putting yourself at the bottom of your next mountain and living through that struggle in order to develop a growth mindset. He provides you with the three steps you can take in order to achieve this.

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The more, I just stayed with it, stayed in the process, whatever that is, whatever that is for you. Just stay in that messy middle, because it's going to suck. It's going to feel awkward. It's going to be uncomfortable, but we're choosing growth. We're not quitting. We're going to stay in it.

Welcome back to the Create Purpose Podcast today. You get me. There is no guest. Just me. And I'm here to talk to you about how you and I can make it through what I'm going to call the messy middle, the messy middle that is going from good to great from going from good enough to. Excellence. We have to, if we want to be the best, if we want to, to build a big brand, to build a big business, to, to fulfill on our dream, we have to get really good at navigating the messy middle.

Let me share with you a little bit of what I mean by that. All of my life. I have been great at winging it. I was the guy. If you went to college that was standing outside the classroom door five minutes for a class started, you know how you're all kind of just huddled around, waiting for class to start and you're talking and someone would ask me, oh, how long did you study for, for today's test?

And I'd look at them like, what do you mean study? I didn't study who didn't study. Oh my God. You know, never study for a test, never. And I always found a way. Good enough. You know, I was notorious for saying, what was it? C’s get degrees. That's me. Don't judge me. That's just who I was. C’s get degrees. Right. I didn't study winging it.

Now I'm into my professional career. I'm I'm doing say. And I I'm in the car with, with my partner. We, we would always go on sales calls together. Um, and these are pretty big meetings, you know, six, seven figure contracts that we would get signed. And I remember him asking me, is he, so he's like, okay, so what's the plan, you know, what are you going to say?

And I looked at him like, I don't know, like, I'll figure it out. It would drive him crazy. And even when it became the day, I was a leader, you know, now I'm a vice president of sales, vice president of operations. I have a team, 30 people, and I have opportunities to do stand up huddles or talks at a conference to my team.

And I would not prepare, I would write down a few bullet points and I would wing it. And you know what. It was good enough. It was good enough. But here recently in the last year, I've learned that I'm leaving so much on the table. And so might you be Art Turok who's an author and he's a management business coach.

He S he talks about this thing called the compromise of competence, the compromise of competence, meaning when we become competent at something. That is when we begin to compromise our greatness. You've heard that saying good is the enemy of great. When we become good enough competent, we start to compromise our own growth around development, and therefore are the impact that we can make in our lives.

And in our businesses. The whole episode today is about going through the messy middle, because why do so many of us. Settle for that compromise of competence. You know, once we become a good enough leader, a good enough manager, a good enough entrepreneur, our business is good enough. And we kinda just clean to what we have, um, that is your opportunity to put yourself in it again, go back into the arena and go through that messy middle, because for you and I to go from good to great, we have.

Embrace this messiness, this awkward center that we have to go through in order to really step into being the leader that we know that we are being the entrepreneur, the person that have impact and purpose that we know that we are. That's what this episode is about. And my hope is by the end of this episode, you are able to light a fire within you to.

Go deeper into your craft, into your business and to being a leader, whatever that is for you, that you no longer settle for. Good enough. And you give yourself permission to be great. And there is a process. In fact, there's three steps that I've learned. I'm going through them right now. And these are three very simple steps that I think will shine a whole new light on what it's like to embrace the messiness of growth, because it's awkward.

And that's why we don't do it. It's uncomfortable. And that's why we don't do it. And you're leaving so much of your potential on the table and you know that, you know, it, that's why you're listening to this episode right now. And that's why you're not going to turn this off and stop listening. You're going to listen through the whole.

Because these three things might just change how you show up and in turn, when start to change the outcomes and results you realize in your business, in your life. So let's get into it. Step one, if you want to get really good at making it through the messy middle, you have to, it's an imperative that you adopt a growth mindset.

Growth mindset comes from Carol Dweck. She wrote a great book called mindset. And she, she draws this comparison between those of us that have a fixed mindset and those of us that have a growth mindset. And she found that the most successful people in life, the greatest in the world, the top athletes, the biggest businesses, the most successful entrepreneurs, they all have one thing in common and that's a growth mindset and this can easily be just written off like, oh yeah, I want to grow.

I love personal development, but it's much more. Deeper than that. We'll say it's deeper than that. She asked this question in her book mindset and I'm paraphrasing. I might not get exactly right, but this is how I remember reading the question. She said, she said this. She said, if I were to give you the choice, like if you could choose.

So w if you're listening, if you could choose between a life of constant validation and success, or a life of constant struggle and discomfort, which would you choose? You know, the only way you can have a growth mindset is you have to choose the life of constant struggle and discomfort. That is the very meaning of growth.

And this is where true growth happens. This is where true greatness comes about is when we say no, that approval stuff, getting approval from others validation and the accolades and the success that is attracting. That will prevent me from growing. And that will keep me from fulfilling on my dream.

That's not what I'm about. I'm about growth. And what that means is your life is about always putting yourself at the bottom of another mountain that is growth. The bottom of another mountain, you know, that. What we must do if we're going to become great and fulfilling our dreams and be, and build the business that we ultimately desire to build and have the team we desire and have the influence and leadership for those people, because it's much easier.

It just is to stay at base camp and just talk about climbing the mountain. It is right. Or, or better, better yet staying at the top of the mountain. We've already achieved because that's just. If you're listening to this podcast, if you're an entrepreneur you've already achieved much in your life, I'm willing to bet you have.

And if you slow down, maybe we don't recognize that. And we don't reflect on that very often. But if you were to look, look behind you, you've achieved so much. We get to the top of our mountain. We achieve the initial vision we set out to achieve, and then we stay. And we grow stagnant and we grow fearful, afraid of losing what we have cleaning to what we have constantly worrying about the other shoe.

When might it drop? Maybe I was just lucky. I better not mess up this good saying right. I should be grateful. And we stay at the top of our mountain and, and we, we, we S we, we fall into that compromise of competence. We, we we're good enough. We we've made it. And that's just. It's a choice, and this is the opportunity.

The soon as you make it to the top of one mountain, it's time to put yourself at the bottom of a new mountain. That is what it really means to have a growth mindset. And Daniel Coyle wrote a book called the talent code, and then he wrote a second book called the little book of talent. And it's just all about how the greats became great.

Because he says, there's no such thing as a savant, somebody who's just born with an innate ability to be great. Greatness is developed. So that's good news for you and me, right? Because we're in it. And we're not where we want to be in. What he has to say is we're not out of the game, but we have to embrace this idea of putting ourselves at the bottom of another mountain and choosing a growth mindset, which is uncomfortable and awkward.

He says this, he says most of us. Instinctively avoid struggle. It's true. It's true for me. I don't know about you. We avoid struggle because it's uncomfortable. If feels like failure. However, when it comes to developing your talent, tragal, isn't an option. It's a biological necessity. That is what I mean by adopting a growth mindset.

And so my question to you here is what. What is your version of what is the bottom of your mountain? What if you were to put yourself at the bottom of the new mountain, what would that be? And what this really is, is it's about getting an, expanding your vision. If you were to dream again and put all the possibilities back on the table and no more negotiating, whether or not they're possible for you, whether or not you're somebody who can or can't do it, and you just dream and you get a bigger.

That's a great way to start putting yourself at the bottom of a mountain. You know, I'll call it a ten-year summit. Like, what is your ten-year summit over the next 10 years? What do you want to dedicate yourself towards pursuing and achieving and building? That is what it means to put yourself at the bottom of.

And that leads us to the second step. And I'm going to get into a little bit of what have been some of my new mountains that I'm climbing. Just to give you some examples, but step two, once you've adopted a growth mindset and you've made the choice, like, Nope, I'm not done. I've got more in me. I'm going to put myself at the bottom and we're going to, we're going to grow now.

Here's, here's where the opportunity is for you. Because sometimes when people hear, put yourself at the bottom of new mountain set, a bigger goal challenges. They, they, they pile, they put all this weight on their back and they start telling themselves all the sacrifices and all the hardships they're going to have to overcome to be the success, the dream, and all that.

And they intimidate themselves to the point where they don't ever begin. They start coming up with reasons why the dream is a bad idea. I would have to sacrifice who I am as a mom or a dad, or I wouldn't be able to have the quality relationships I want to have. Right. I'd have to, I'd have to spend money.

I don't have like right. We start creating these reasons. And, and then we read the books about how we gotta be grit and, you know, we gotta have grit, we gotta be disciplined and we gotta grind and push. And you know what? Some of us are kind of like tired of that. Like, you know what, I don't, I'm not very interested in more grind.

You know what? I do have a family. I do have young children. I am married and I do love my, my, my spouse. And I'm not really that interested in burning all those bridges, just so I can achieve something in my, like, I'm, I'm over that. That is a broken philosophy, in my opinion, in my experience, because I've been on the other side of that, where I've ground myself up.

And I bet you have had moments of your life. If you're an entrepreneur built a business, there are, have been moments where you got out of harmony with what you really want to be doing for sure. And so. We have to address this because if we're going to choose growth, putting ourselves at the bottom of a mountain, we've also got to include all that's meaningful for us.

And we've got to make sure that we build this thing in a way that's going to serve us and going to light us up and energize us and to where it doesn't always feel exhausting. Now there's going to be days and seasons of this was a tough day. This was a tough week, but you and I can handle that. And.

We're not afraid of that. We know we have what it takes to go through some hard things. We just don't want that to be our life. Right. And so I want to reframe what it actually feels like to put yourself at the bottom of the new mountain, because rather than seen as this big daunting climb, you know, I like to think of it as this, you know, you think about the people that climb Mount Everest, they don't do it for the hell of it.

You know, they do it for. The excitement, the journey, the experience of climbing Mount Everest. So what if you were to view putting yourself at the bottom of a new mountain like that? Like, you know what, wouldn't it be cool if I'm climbing this thing, if I'm doing the same that I would dream of doing, you know, that is, that's a great way to start to think about this next step.

I'm going to give you because the next step step two is you need to fall in love with your own growth. That's a growth mindset, because if we're a fixed mindset, anything that feels awkward and uncomfortable, we, we kind of call that failure and that's really limiting and that's exhausting and we need to fall in love with the process of growth the fall in love with, with practice and preparation.

Because when you do that, it's game over. It's. Everything changes. And here's some examples of when, so I told you I'm I'm Mr. Winger, we'll say great at winging. It I'm discovered why winging it winging. It was my comfort zone because I knew if I never really exerted myself, really put myself in the game, really tried and went all in on something.

I always had an excuse. Well, you know, I didn't really study or, you know, we didn't, I didn't really prepare for this meeting. I'm just doing my best. I would say things like, oh no, I did my best or giving talks to my team. Like, well, you know, I just, I'm just speaking from my heart, you know, just, and all of that was a, yes, we'll say that it was, it was things that I would say to myself to keep me safe and keep me in a comfort zone, because if I were to actually go all in and spend and invest hours of time studying for that.

Or actually spend the evening before the big sales presentation, working through the numbers and thinking through things and anticipating the objections and thinking through what I'd say like that would put me in a vulnerable position, because what if that wasn't enough and I fail, or if I really were to plan out my message that I want to share with my team and get clear on what I really need to say and why it matters to me, why it matters to them.

Well, that's scary because I'd have to be. It's much easier just to show up and wing it. That was me. That was my compromise of competence. And I met a mentor and coach a year ago. And he has helped me learn to tell my personal story. I have a dream of speaking from stages, speaking to audiences inspiring and moving them towards being the leader that they know that they are take on that next, bold move in their business and really playful out in their lives.

And I want to do that through speaking and onstage and coaching and facilitating workshops. And I was starting to get the feeling that, you know, Me and everybody else out there is wanting to do that. I've going to have to be great at it. If I'm going to make a go of this and make this my life. And I found a coach, and one of the things that he taught me was the power of preparation of rehearsal.

We'll call it. And this was in the context of me learning to tell my personal story from stage in a way that's engaging and keeps people's attention and is encapsulates who I am. I found myself in the messy middle, because I had to, part of the program was I had to share this story in front of a lot of people in front of a camera.

And he made very clear if you wing it, we're going to know it. We're going to know it. And so for the first time in my life, I was like, oh shit, I can't wing this. Like, I'm going to have to take this seriously. And here's how it went. I'm in my basement and I'm rehearsing, sharing my personal story. As if I was on stage or as if I was on camera, I w I felt awkward as hell.

My wife was upstairs pilot wondering, like, what is he doing down there? He's talking to himself. Right. I felt awkward. I would get started. I would say a few lines and I would stop. And I would say the meanest things to myself, I would say like, what the hell are you doing? This is terrible. You, you suck, you can't do this.

What do you, what are you doing? Like, what are you doing? Zack, Rick. Right. And that. That was what was going on day one of rehearsal. I left kind of frustrated, but you know what, thank God. I came back for day two. All of a sudden those lines came to me. There was a couple moments of me saying, oh God, that's still not very good, but it's better than it was.

Yesterday. Day three came. Boom. I'm Sharon. I'm like, whoa, whoa. That's just, it's like something let loose and it's coming. Like I'm able to share more openly and freely than I've ever been able to share before. Like I started noticing whoa, in a series of 3, 5, 6, 7 days, 20 days, I've grown immensely. I now can stand without my piece of paper and I can deliver.

I started to fall in love with my own growth. I started to fall in love with the process, the messy middle, because it would have been much easier for me just to wing it because I, you know, yeah. That's my story. I can share it. Like, who wants to know? I'll just tell you my story. Yeah. Whoa. Okay. But that wasn't good enough.

I wasn't going to wing it. I was going to deliver it in a way that had impact and that required practice and preparation. Just like you. I don't, maybe you don't want to be a public speaker like me, but maybe you're a leader. If you're a leader, you need to be able to stand in front of people and you need to be able to share from your heart.

If you're the CEO of your business, you're, you are responsible for the vision of the business and you have to be able to share that vision in a compelling way. And so are you winging? Are you making it up as you go on the fly or are you sitting quietly in the morning with a journal? Thinking about what is my vision?

What do I want? Are you sick? Are you going on a walk and sharing it out loud as if you were sharing it with your team? Are you doing the work, the rehearsals before you actually get in front of your team? Because that is when the magic happens is when you've rehearsed. You get to show up and play and really share your truth instead of being in your head, trying to figure out what to say next.

That is what it means to learn to fall in love with your own growth. And I'm just looking at my notes because you know what? This just come up for me again. Now that I'm, I've learned to tell my story. I have a keynote, I have teaching points and a three-step framework that I want to share with others.

Now the step is getting on stage. Well, someone said, what stages do you want to be on? Oh man, that's a good question. That's probably what a first, you know, always start with what you want. And so I suppose last week I started researching stages and there's that voice again? What are you doing? Like these people, like, look at the people on these stages.

Like you're not qualified to be on these stages. And I got discouraged. I left that day. I was home. I was, it was one of those days where I came home, kicked the cat. Right. I was just grumpy and feeling bad about myself. But thank God. I showed up again, day two and I opened up my spreadsheet and I got back on Google and I started a research and stages because all of a sudden I was starting to click, make some clicks like, oh, there's this stage?

Oh, I could see myself speaking in all. And the more I just stayed with it stayed in the process, whatever that is, whatever that is for you just stay in that messy middle, because it's going to suck. It's going to feel awkward. It's going to be uncomfortable. But we're choosing growth. We're not quitting.

We're going to stay in it and you start to fall in love and you start to realize like, oh, this is normal day one. Yeah. I'm going to feel shitty day two. Still going to feel shitty, but a little bit better. Day three, all the ideas and insights are going to start coming. You got to stay in the process. So that's step number two, learn to fall in love with your own growth.

And you do that through the practice of the, doing the work, the process. Step three is now that you've done the rehearsals you've prepared. You've practiced. It's time to toss the scripted PowerPoint and let yourself out. Literally put the notes aside and just share, because this is when it all came together for me, step two, right?

Learning to fall in love with your own growth. There's nothing like falling in love with your own growth when there's a performance on the other end, when you actually get to deliver your message, deliver that vision to your team, deliver that tough conversation to one of your team members that you've prepared for.

But that feeling that you have, yeah, you're nervous. But you can fall back on your training. You know, you know that you're ready, you know, the hours you've spent practicing and rehearsing and thinking through. You know, you're ready. And so you're not in your head trying to figure out what you want. You're going to say instead, you're feeling the nervousness, but then you're connecting back to your heart and your message and your values and what you really want to portray to your team, to your audience, to the individual in your life.

And you can trust that and you get to play full out. That there's no other feeling in the world than knowing that you are prepared and ready for this moment. That's step three is just go play. Let go of, of the script, the notes, the PowerPoint, and just trust your training. Aristotle. I love this quote. I haven't written on my board in my office right now because consistency and habits is something that I'm really focusing on.

Maybe I'll do some more episodes around it because like, what are the question I'm starting to ask myself, or what are the consistent behaviors or consistent habits I would need to take on in my life if I were to be. The best coach a world-class coach, a world-class speaker, what would be those daily habits as consistency?

So the Aristotle, this is his quote. He says, we are what we repeatedly do excellence then is not an act, but a habit, you know? And, and it's been said like, how you do anything is how you do everything. And so when you start to approach. Life, not from a position of competency. Good enough. And make those compromises and you say, no good enough is not good enough.

I want to be great at what I do. And I'm unapologetic about. 'cause. I know that by me being great, it's going to have a much greater impact in the work that I do. And that goes for you too. If you're a business owner, a creative, like what does it mean to be great? What type of impact will you have if you choose to be great.

If you choose to put yourself at the bottom of another mountain, you fall in love with your own growth and you don't quit on yourself and you keep going. What do you think is going to happen to the people around you? You are going to role model the way for them, and they are going to become exactly what you're becoming.

And so we're counting on you, your team's counting on you. You know, when you don't pursue your greatness, you not only hurt yourself. You hurt everyone around. You don't do that. Don't do that. And I'm here to say it's not easy there's days where I, I will quit on myself, but you know what, thank God I sh I don't quit on myself forever.

I, I get back on the horse and I go again the next day. And I go again the next day and somehow some way growth happens. So if you take anything else from this, this episode, keep showing up. The only way off this ride is if you quit the only way of not fulfilling on your dream and having exactly what you want in your life is if you quit, if you don't quit and you stay at it and you play the long game, it will happen.

It just will. It's predictable. It will happen if you trust the process and put in the work. So here's our Mar marching orders. As we wrap today's episode. I want you to ask yourself, what's your messy middle, that's maybe calling you to go through, what is your next mountain that you're going to put yourself at the bottom of?

Like, I want you to. The identify that identify what that is. Maybe it's showing up more online. Maybe it's building a community of people. Maybe it's starting a course, or maybe it's launching a new product or opening a physical retail, like a brick and mortar store. Like really kind of taking that next bold move.

What is your next mountain? What's your tenure summit? What are you building? Get really clear on what that is. That's calling you. And just commit, make a commitment to yourself right now to start. And here's what you can expect when you start, you're going to see all the reasons why you're not qualified for that dream or that, that climbing that mountain.

I'm going to say it. You're going to suck. You're going to be terrible at it and just know that that's. But when you show up again the next day, and again, the next day plan for consistent efforts. So I want you to start and then make a commitment to stay consistent, no matter how you're feeling, stay committed to what you're desiring to create for yourself, what you're building and then keep showing up.

And all I want you to do is notice your role. Notice that growth after five days, 10 days, 14 days of staying consistent with something, what are you learning? What are the new insights? Maybe it's not anything that has to do with performance or speaking or sharing a message. Maybe it's developing a whole new part of your business that you've never done before.

You know, that kind of, that idea of walking naked in the land of uncertainty. That's what it feels like. You're like totally exposed, totally vulnerable. I've never done this before, but when you just keep showing up, all of a sudden that land of uncertainty becomes. Your new land of competency. Like you learn that.

But you have to keep showing up. You have to keep going deeper into it and learning and growing and finding the coaches, finding the people that have gone, where you want to go and learn from them. And, and that is the process of growth. So that's your marching order. I want you to put yourself at the bottom of a new mountain.

Not because you need some heavy load to carry around because it's going to be exciting as hell, and it's going to light you up and it's going to inspire those around you. And it's going to allow you to build. A bigger business, be more profitable, increase your income, have more influence all the things that we want in our lives.

So go out there, find your mountain. And I would love to hear from you, like, what is it? What, what are you building? Because that's something I'm learning too. The more you can share what you're building with us. People are going to show up in your life and they're going to want to help you. All right. Well until next week, I hope to see you again on the next episode and we'll talk soon.

All right. I want to take a moment to make an announcement. I want to let you know that I'm taking applications right now for the Create Purpose Mastermind, an intimate Mastermind group for aspiring seven figure creative female business owners.

Who are looking to build their dream team. So if that's you go to, here's what it's going to look like. If you decide to spend a year with me and this intimate Mastermind, you know, when I was putting us together, I really was thinking about what are the outcomes that I want you to get as a result of spending a year in this group.

Number one is I want you to discover your unique greatness. Because when you surround yourself with people who see you for who you are and are able to draw you back to your own greatness so much can change. Number two, I want to help you master your inner game because everything in business starts with self-awareness of why things are the way they are.

Because as soon as you become aware of that, you get to decide and make a choice to change it for the better number three. I want to see you lead with confidence, you know, because I fundamentally believe you already have everything you need. You don't need another guru to show you the way and I want to see build your dream team.

And that's what you're we're ultimately going to be doing in this group is building a business. Around a team of people, the no longer centers around you, the leader, but you now have a team where you now are able to free yourself up to be the true CEO and creative visionary of your business. Ultimately to grow your business, make your business easier to manage more profitable and a lot more fun.

So if you're an inspiring seven figure creative female business owner, who's wanting to build your dream team and grow your business. Then please don't wait. There's only 12 seats available. So don't hesitate in getting your application in. What if this were to be your breakthrough? And what if this Mastermind is exactly what you need to really grow your business and bring your unique potential to life, to learn more, go to

Hopefully you really enjoyed this podcast episode. And my hope is you found. Really inspirational. And also most importantly, I hope you took away some practical things that you can start to do and apply in your own life. So finally, I have one small favor to ask of you before you go, wherever you get your podcasts, whether that's Apple Music or Spotify.

If you enjoyed this episode, leave us a review. Love to hear your thoughts. Come find us on social media, share it on social media. It just really helps us get the word out, helps us grow our audience. So please do that. Thanks to my team, Ashley Bolden, who handles all the admin and Chris Skipper who handles all the music and editing of this podcast for more information on.

Purpose podcast, you can go to, and you can also follow me on Instagram @zach.arend. Please drop me a comment, reach out, drop me a DM. I'd love to hear from you. I'd love to hear what you're taking away from these conversations. What would you like to hear more of? Do you have any guests that you would love to see come on the show? And I'm always looking for great people to talk to people with great stories that can inspire you. And so if you know of anybody, send them my way, love to hear from. I'm your host, Zach Arend, and I'll see you in the next episode of the Create Purpose Podcast. Bye for now.