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in-between

Openness to Input and Feedback Drives Self-Correction

If we never experience the feedback of others, we can only rely on our own. It’s often faulty, so self-correction is seldom. We continue to repeat the same patterns because they are comfortable. This mindset is what I call a bubble state. It’s a major theme in my book The In-Between: Life in the Micro.

In the book, I talk about how limiting bubble states are. They keep us macro-focused, seeking some accomplishment. Nothing connected to achieving this doesn’t matter. It’s a relentless obsession and prevents self-correction. Overcoming it means you have to be open to input from outside sources.

Bubble States Are Insular

Imagine that this bubble state is a literal armor that doesn’t allow anything to penetrate it. Being in this scenario, you never consider anything outside yourself. I know from experience that a bubble state keeps you disconnected. In the end, there’s always collateral damage.

A bubble state is insular and sits in the macro. The outcome could be that you reached your goal but failed to learn lessons and enjoy the micro-moments.

Coming out of a bubble state is a hard journey. It requires reflection and building awareness. A key component is welcoming input and feedback.

Self-Correction Requires Living in the Micro

What happens when you leave the bubble state and live in the micro? It’s like an evolution. You transition from only desiring to achieve the target to learning from the micro-moments. In this shift, you open yourself to connection and feedback.

Living in the micro may seem mundane. Yet, every monumental moment is the result of a million small ones. Setting goals and pursuing them is never a bad trait to have. It’s how you go about it that needs to change.

There are things to learn in every interaction. A brief conversation can have a great impact in the long run. Even if you expressly practice this, you’ll still make mistakes, falling into the trap of a macro focus. I do, however, realize that there are times when I miss feedback in front of me.

There Is No Failure, Only Feedback

When I feel the pull of the macro, I recenter my thoughts to allow me to exist in the in-between. One mantra that helps me do this is reminding myself there is no failure. Most things in life won’t go the way you expect or need. Rather than label it as a failure, I believe there’s only feedback, and taking action delivers this.

When you examine the input you receive, your intentions in a situation can change. You’ll set intentions for every experience, but they need to be agile. Rigid intentions are bubble state behaviors.

Being able to accept feedback is crucial to self-correction, which enables us to become better people, personally and professionally. It can come from family, friends, colleagues, or even a coach. You can’t do this alone, which makes it more difficult. It’s hard to ask for and receive help from others, yet it’s critical to self-correction and finding peace and joy.

Learn more about the value of feedback by reading my book.

Shifting Your Identity to a Serving State

Identity is fluid if you’re open to evolving and changing. Everything we experience impacts our identity. Mine was once very rigid and self-serving, even when I had the best intentions. However, I realized this wasn’t a healthy path to continue on, and I wanted to shift to a serving state.

How I was able to do this is the heart of my book, The In-Between: Life in the Micro. It focuses on the two unique environments—the micro and macro. The micro is the in-between consisting of all the little moments in life. The macro is the big picture, encompassing goals and milestones.

I spent most of my life only paying attention to the macro. It had devastating consequences until I was able to shift my identity.

Self-Serving vs. Serving States

Being self-serving is necessary for survival, physically or emotionally. We all have barriers that act as protectors. These are more present for those with a history of trauma. I was once in this category. I thought a “me against the world” philosophy was the best one to have. It allowed me to achieve some incredible goals, but my self-serving was often at the expense of others that I cared about.

A serving state steps up in the in-between. It’s empathy and action toward others. I had been working on this shift for some time. Witnessing a bad car accident was a key moment in realizing I’d accomplished this change.

In the moments of the crash, I did not think about how this would impact my day or plans. Instead, I removed my ego from the situation. I was someone who helped others and put their needs first. It was a feeling of purposefulness and connection.

Why Care About the Serving State?

Living a disconnected, macro-focused life may have its advantages. They could be monetary or food for your ego. It’s also a very lonely existence. Loneliness isn’t about isolation or lack of human interaction. Rather, it’s the feeling that no one else could possibly understand you. It becomes easy to serve only yourself.

A serving state is the opposite. You are open to others and give them your attention. This enables authentic connections. An identity that cares about the serving state provides opportunities to have meaningful micro-moments that make us better humans.

The Serving State and Actionable Awareness

Another concept in my book is actionable awareness. It’s the act of observing my thoughts, feelings, and actions in a situation and asking if they are serving me. From there, I want to act on this for myself and others. The action can change all this and be transformative.

In this feedback loop, I also remind myself that there is no failure, only feedback. I’m also listening to my gut and acting on it rather than sitting on the sidelines.

Moving to a serving state requires reflection and an embrace of the micro. You can learn more about how to do this by reading my book.

Informed Intentions Make You Less Vulnerable to Circumstances

Intentions are a normal part of the human experience. We may have the best intentions in mind in a situation, but they can quickly spiral out of control when circumstances change. Typical intentions don’t allow for adaptability. In order to take circumstances out of the equation, we have to make informed decisions throughout our lives.

Informed intentions are a theme in my book The In-Between: Life in the Micro. In this reflective account of my life, I discuss how I evolved from being someone who only focused on the macro—the major goals, priorities, and moments. In doing so, I neglected and rejected the in-between, which describes all the other parts of life.

Let’s look at the idea of informed intentions and how they help you embrace the micro.

What Are Informed Intentions?

An intention is a plan or objective. These are aspirations we expect and desire. They are often abstract in nature. Informed intentions, however, are more concrete, accounting for the information at hand. Setting them revolves around being outcome-driven.

Following this mindset means I develop an intention based on what I want from an experience. It also allows me to avoid getting derailed by changing circumstances. When you hone the ability to do this, getting dysregulated because of the environment happens less often. Further, informed intentions help me be present.

How to Set Informed Intentions

Making this shift in expectations requires some internal work. My book offers many examples. Here are a few insights from those stories:

  • Concentrate on the outcome. Guide intentions based on the outcomes you want so circumstances don’t take over.
  • Remember that your outer world reflects your inner world. When you have the right internal intentions, experiences improve.
  • Consider that the unexpected is always a possibility. Life is full of surprises, and we can’t control them all. Managing intentions and keeping them informed requires focusing on your vision rather than the circumstances.
  • Expect circumstances to win if you don’t set an intention. If you approach any scenario without an intention, circumstances will be in the driver’s seat and influence your decisions and responses.
  • Align informed intentions with your inner awareness. This internal truth is your authentic self and gut instinct. They are valuable, and you shouldn’t dismiss them. Your informed intentions should be in step with these. When they aren’t, you will face significant internal turmoil.
  • Look to awareness as a foundation for making informed intentions a habit. Intentions and awareness should work together. Awareness of self and others is crucial to making informed intentions a natural part of your behavior.

Don’t Let Circumstances Disrupt Intentions

Intentions and circumstances intertwine to create experiences. It’s going to be better if intentions are in charge rather than the circumstances. When you begin to do this on a regular basis, you also grow more connected to the in-between. You can appreciate the micro-moments in life at a completely new level.

Get more insights and practical advice on these concepts by reading my book.

Trauma Creates a Wall to Micro-Moments

Everyone carries around the residue of trauma. Some of us have had more than our fair share, but it’s impossible to go through the human experience without acquiring some on the way. It shapes us in many ways. If unresolved, it causes trouble later on and can wall us off to micro-moments.

Why do micro-moments even matter? Well, they are the everyday connections and pockets of time that enable us to become better partners, friends, family members, and colleagues. Micro-moments were not on my radar for a long time, thanks to trauma. It made me want to be a superachiever with no time to be vulnerable.

Then, a lot of stuff happened, and I hit a rock-bottom moment of reflection. Instead of being blind to micro-moments, I began to embrace them. I share my journey in my book The In-Between: Life in the Micro.

I Didn’t Want to Be Hurt Again

When we experience trauma in childhood and adolescence, we develop a protective part of ourselves. This part of identity builds walls so we won’t be hurt again. However, the wall cuts out the good stuff, too, so we sit in a neutral spot.

I certainly didn’t want to encounter any more hurt in my life after my childhood. I thought that walling myself off was a good course of action. I just didn’t realize until many years later what I missed by only focusing on the macro.

Being Vulnerable Is Hard for the Traumatized

The traumatized brain fights to avoid vulnerability. That protective part wants to be in control. As a result, those with unresolved trauma are excellent at building walls. It seems to be the safe path, but what are we missing by not letting ourselves be vulnerable?

We miss out on the in-between and the micro-moments that are often joyful and illuminating. The journey to being able to be present and aware of these moments requires deep reflection and a desire to change.

Redefining Your Identity through Micro-Moments

The identity that keeps us from enjoying and living in the in-between must evolve. One approach to this is setting intentions. An intention is what we expect and want to happen. Without intentions, we become a victim of circumstances.

Intentions also have to be adaptable to the situation. Staying true to them helps us no longer be anxious and fearful of micro-moments and connections.

I learned about the value of micro-moments through this metamorphosis. When I was only concerned about the macro-moments, I achieved much, but I’m not proud of the old me. Reflection allowed me to look at the past through a new lens. It was necessary and uncomfortable. However, that’s how growth works.

There’s a lot to be excited about when you turn your attention to micro-moments. Without them, we have a life less lived. It’s changed the way I communicate and made me a more empathetic person, in general.

If you want to truly experience micro-moments, it’s time to think about why you brush them aside now. You’ll find more stories, tips, and more in my book.

Chase Your Dreams by Living in the In-Between

Dreams and aspirations are part of the human spirit. Many of us set goals and intentions toward making these a reality. However, much of the time, it means we emphasize the macro over the micro. The macro, after all, is the destination the dream provides. The micro is the journey, which has to occur before realizing anything. To truly chase your dreams, you must live in the in-between.

The in-between is just what you think it is; it’s the valleys between the peaks of life’s milestones. Many goal-focused people only see the valleys as a necessary nuisance. They don’t take time to enjoy those moments and learn all you can from them.

I once had this mindset and achieved my personal and professional dreams. Ignoring the in-between didn’t bring much happiness or satisfaction. I decided to evolve my fate and identity, and I captured this life-changing pivot in my book The In-Between: Life in the Micro.

Taking My Ego Out of the Equation

We all have an ego; it’s a fundamental part of our consciousness. It can serve us well or be a detriment to our growth. My ego often got in the way of living in the in-between. It cared only for the accolades of arriving at those peaks.

Eventually, I came to see the damage it was causing and could take it out of decisions I made and interactions. By doing so, I felt connected and purposeful in the in-between journey. I began to embrace being present in micro-moments, and it didn’t deter me from chasing my dreams.

You Can Chase Dreams and Embrace the In-Between

There’s a misconception that pushing toward a dream or a goal is about staying unflinchingly focused on the macro. You may accomplish something, but you’ll look back and see broken relationships and selfish behavior.

So, I was able to reconcile that both these things can be true. I can aspire to fulfill my dreams and enjoy the path toward them. I don’t have to suppress my emotions and reflections to achieve something grand.

Finding this balance between the micro and macro takes time. You’ll fumble along the way because you’re human. You’ll make mistakes and lose sight of things from time to time. How you respond and learn from them is what matters.

The In-Between Is Where Dreams Are Born and Fostered

Maybe it’s ironic to say that dreams originate in the in-between. When we begin to desire something and realize what we’ll need to get there, it’s happening in the in-between. It’s a collection of micro-moments that help us formulate the big dream.

It’s in the micro where we foster and nurture dreams, setting the course for how to attain them. Dreams would have nowhere to go without the micro. Coming to this understanding sets you up to assess your identity and create your intentions for situations that will bring you closer to your dreams.

You can learn more about this process and why the in-between is crucial to dreams by reading my book.