Use The Gap!

An unexpected event recently gave me a chance to experience the power of the gap. It was early one evening when I decided to go for a swim at a local sports centre. Knowing that a section of the pool would be closed for a swim training club, I decided to check that the rest of the pool was still available to the general public. Having been advised that this was true, I changed into my swimwear. As I was about to walk through to the pool, a young lady approached me with a message from the staff at reception. She said that she had a message from a staff member, who said he was  sorry, because apparently he had made a mistake. I was informed that the whole pool had been hired by the swim club, and that I should not have been let through.

use the gap

A heavy sigh escaped my lips.  Feeling particularly tired, I had literally dragged myself to the pool to exercise. De-motivated, I began to reach for my clothing to re-dress when the same lady re-approached me. She told me that under the circumstances, her swimming coaches were happy for me to stay and join in with the tri-athletes and their  training. “Really?”, I asked. “Yes”, she replied. “They said it’s fine”.

In that moment, standing in my swimsuit in the changing room, I became aware of the gap. The gap is a space in time, consisting of a few seconds in which we are given to make a choice. In that gap, I first imagined myself swimming amongst the people who I assumed to be super fit. I saw myself struggling to breathe being in an attempt to keep up, and predicted being highly embarrassed by my performance. My imagination ran wild as I considered the possibility of drowning and having to scream for help. (And I’d forgotten to shave my armpits so being dragged out of the pool by a lifeguard would be traumatising. I’d be known as the hairy one forever!).

Exhausting my mind with my negative thoughts, I found myself considering alternatives. Was there a possibility that I may enjoy it? Was there a possibility that I could keep up? In reality, a long way away from my imagination I knew I was a relatively good strong swimmer. Deciding to act on my last thought and use the gap in the best possible way, five minutes later I found myself in the pool. Silencing the, “Crazy woman, what have you got yourself into?”, voice in my mind, I swam length after length, and found myself keeping up easily with the others. An hour later, I found myself smiling at my achievement, and the unanticipated random event! And after thanking the swim coaches, I  decided that I may actually join them again in the future.

We all have access to randomness, excitement and challenge. We all have access to smiles and happiness, because we all have gaps. Every day we have the opportunity to make decisions about our future, whether it be the next 30 minutes or the next 30 years. And we make those decisions in our gaps.

The next time that you have a choice, bring my words to mind. Remember that in your gap, you have 2 choices:

You can make a decision that will keep you safe and comfortable and away from fear, and risk stagnation.

You can make a decision that scares you a little, but moves you into an inspiring future. This often brings great rewards.

How have you been using the gaps in you past? How will you now use the gaps that you experience in the future?

It’s worth more than a thought…….


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