How to Get Through the Middle of a Challenge

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Think of the last time you were in the middle of a challenging project or problem.

It was hard, right? Like, really hard.

The beginning and the end of most challenges are easy, in comparison to the middle. In the beginning, you’re excited about something new and there’s a glimmer in your eye. At the end, you can see the finish line. The end (quite literally) is near.

But the middle is unique. It’s elusive and caught up between the exciting beginning and thrilling end. The middle is the drudgery, the grit, and the really hard work.

The middle shows us how determined we are and whether we are willing to give up or keep pushing until the end.

I’ve also heard the middle likened to a journey at sea: the beginning and end are exciting, since you can see land ahead or behind you. But the middle is desolate. You’re completely surrounded by a wide open sea.

Here’s how to get through the middle.

Get honest

You already know the dreaded middle is coming when you start a project. The more honest with yourself about the fact that it’s coming – or worse, it’s here – the better off you’ll be.

Live in the knowing that the middle is here and it’s hard, but you’re ready to push through it.

One step at a time

I know this is an overused idiom, but in this case it’s true.

You can’t finish your project or challenge without taking small steps to finish it in its entirety. Plus, small steps often help us by being less overwhelmed by all we have to do. Bite sized chunks make the middle much more manageable.

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Done is better than perfect

I know, I know. Many of us strive for perfection – myself included. But we’ve got to stop letting perfectionism keep us from finishing things.

Instead, do your very best and then leave it at that. Accept when you’ve done your very best work and then move on to your next step in the process.

It won’t last forever

Middles only last forever when we don’t take small steps and get caught up in perfectionism. Knowing that the “murky middle” isn’t going to last forever will help you get to the finish line.

If it helps, picture how you’ll feel once you finish your project or present challenge. Having that feeling through the middle will help you push through.

(In fact, I recently learned in The Happiness Project that you’ll actually feel more happiness by living in happy feelings throughout a process, rather than just in the end.)

What are your tips and tricks for the “messy middle” with challenges – in work or life?! Tell us about them below in the comments!

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