By Jeff Miller

I am learning. Learning to be aware of entering the in-between zone, as opposed to the “danger zone” (cue Kenny Loggins see below for a blast from my/the past). Learning to celebrate and savor achieving a major accomplishment but not resting on the laurels of it. Learning to not view crossing the finish line as the end. But to also see it as a beginning; as an entry point into the next chapter of a life long journey.

While recently reading Jeff Goins’ book The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing, I was reminded of running the Chicago Marathon. I learned a lot in between signing up for the race and 8 months later having a participant medal put on my neck after completing the 26.2 miles.

At first, running a marathon seemed overwhelming and unattainable. Simply running a few miles was initially challenging. But little by little, I established a routine and followed a training plan. Mile by mile, I began to build confidence and endurance. Some days it was just plain hard to get out the door, taking all the discipline I could muster up to keep on track. Eventually, as I faithfully hung in there and kept putting one foot in front of the other, I began to hear myself saying its only 6 miles, then 12, then 18. Ultimately, it was the in-between times of training, of total obscurity with no one is watching or cheering, that got me to the starting line and prepared me for finishing the race well.

You and I are incapable of running a marathon, closing a deal or publishing a book on a daily or weekly basis. In our human frailty, it is just simply  too demanding.

The reality is we need times of in-between. Time to recover from the amount of physical, emotional and spiritual energy exerted in achieving our accomplishments. We need time to dream and discover and plan and prepare for achieving the next major milestone (whatever it might be). Time to simply be present in the moment.

Can we begin to celebrate the in-between, of training and shaping and molding, as much as we do the start and finish line of everything we do?

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