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Ideas to Help You Close Your GAP

We all have GAPs between where we are now and where we dream of being. You can think of that GAP as:

Gauging (current) Ability vs. Potential

Unless you have a perfect business and personal life (which few if any do), then you most definitely have a GAP. Welcome to the human race.

But if you’re honest, you already knew that. You know there is much greater potential locked away in your business and personal life. More success and fulfillment could be seized. Maybe things are a little broken, out of whack, or maybe you have settled somewhat over time.

Whatever the case, without question, there is a GAP. And the larger the GAP, the larger the level of dissatisfaction.

Picture of the yellow line and words "MIND THE GAP" seen in many train stations, particularly in the UK.

The real question is are you ready to do something about the GAP?

If so, there’s good news. Your performance and expectation GAP is merely a current and temporary condition that can be changed. It’s not fixed or permanent. You don’t have to remain stuck, out of balance, or under-performing.

First, you have to recognize your GAP. Then make the decision to do something about it. For conditions to change, YOU must be willing to change.

Mind the Gap drawing of a flat line with a round dip in the middle. A man has fallen in the dip, laying stomach down on the bottom, and is reaching up to grab the top, with sweat droplets coming off his face. (Close the GAP so you don't fall).

Choosing to Close the GAP

Can you close the GAP on your own? Perhaps. It takes real discipline and introspection. Unfortunately, though, most owners, executives, and professionals are too busy to slow down and think, too close to their own situation to be truly objective, and/or too passionate about other things to find the discipline, process, and ongoing accountability to make a transformation like this happen.

So, what are your other options?

  • Find a mentor. Find a trusted mentor to encourage your progression and help you navigate the career development opportunities that exist for you.
  • Make sure you have a strong support group that will keep you accountable (board of directors, investors, managers, significant other, friends, etc.)
  • Hire a business coach. Their job is to be objective and hold you accountable.

Advice to Close Your GAP

Face Reality About Your Current Situation

Where is your business and personal life right now (the good, the bad, and the ugly)? Step one is to own up to your circumstances, conditions, and results. See the truth and accept it. This first step is where having someone else, such as a mentor, coach, or support group will come in the most. They can help you identify what you might need to improve with an objective outside perspective.

Be Clear About Your Ideal Future

Where do you want your professional and personal life to be? How do you want them to look? Make it a vivid picture. With quiet and uninterrupted time, sit down with a pad of paper and pen to do some soul-searching and dreaming. Don’t hold back, go big! Unlike the previous step, this is entirely up to you, you should not let other people influence how you want your life to look in the future.

Acknowledge and Accept the GAP

What is the true GAP? Acknowledge the distance between #1 (your current reality) and #2 (your ideal future), and know with certainty that you can close that GAP with focused actions. Unlike step #1, however, you now have to take ownership for not only what is, but what could have been. There will be pain associated with “falling short of your dreams and expectations”. And you will most likely be disappointed with the size of your performance GAP. That’s perfectly normal and will serve as great motivation to change and close the GAP. Simply channel those emotions into constructive actions.

Two men stand on either side of a chasm, each hold the end of a cord. The man on the left is holding aloft the outlet end of an extension cord. The man on the right appears to be running to jump across the gap with the plug end of an extension cord (closing the gap).

Put a Focused Plan of Action Together

What can you do for the next 90 days to close that GAP? Put a focused plan of action together for the next 90 days, to move you and your organization toward your ideal future. This is similar to when you do a Business Review but includes personal growth and goals as well. Review and update your strategic plan every 90 days without exception or end. Get feedback and make adjustments along the way. Some things this plan can include are:

  1. Take control of your finances. Three out of five people regularly fail to meet their financial goals; despite this, 76% are doing little to change their spending and saving behavior. Of these, only 6% are on track to save enough for retirement. Track and review past spending. Tracking expenses increases your awareness and motivates you to improve. Everyone could cut 5 to 10% of their current spending without creating much pain. Consider reducing utility bills, cutting extra cable channels you don’t even watch, or discontinuing data plans or magazine subscriptions.
  2. Step away from accomplices and towards motivators. Avoid groups and activities that are likely to distract you from your goals or cause you to spend more money than you should. The habits that keep you back are likely enabled, tolerated, or encouraged by others. Use positive peer pressure by surrounding yourself with hard-working friends who share your career goals. For more ideas about this tip, you can check out this article about overcoming career-limiting habits.
  3. Invest in professional development. Learn what you don’t know. New habits always require new skills. Actively develop the skills you need to be viewed as a top performer through training, workshops, or books—but make sure this is only one part of a bigger change strategy.
  4. Reward yourself for reaching short-term goals. It takes very little to make yourself feel good for accomplishing a short-term goal.
  5. Control your workspace. Make your new habits easier by enlisting the power of your surroundings. If you’d benefit from proximity to another team, ask to move offices. If you thrive on physical reminders, put up some pictures or a vision board.

Though we all have GAPs between our present and desired realities, we can achieve our goals and dreams. And if you want some help, feel free to schedule a FREE consultation with our Business Coaches.