In the Meantime: In Process of Learning



Today I stopped by Starbucks to get a coffee and to do some work. I love to go to coffee shops and sit and relax and read or write and think. It is the intimate work surrounded by people whom I don't know that somehow feels like a good embrace from which to work. As I was there recently I noticed that this particular shop was going to offer curbside service and it is not a drive through establishment. I wondered how they were going to do this well as it is a busy shop. I asked one of the barristas how this was going to work for them. Her answer was interesting. I bring this up here because it is a different take of the period of In the Meantime that I am so entranced by.

She said that eventually they would hire one person who just did the curbside service and the others would then be able to continue to do the work as usual without more stress on them. I asked her how busy it was now, and she indicated it was not utilized much as yet. So for now, they don't have an extra person to do that new function and they all have to pitch in and do the extra job. She said she couldn't wait for them to get busy enough to hire that extra help, and that for now, in the meantime, they would all share the extra work together. As I thought about this, that meant for them, they would all have to get extremely busy to merit the extra help.

In the meantime they would be stressed and hassled before the help could come and they could more easily offer this extra service. I thought about this and realized this meantime period of time was the opposite of many I write about and have previously thought of. This period of time was a more stressful time where they were all in a meantime of building the new business and getting very busy before help could come and ease their way. As I continued to think about this I realized that this is true of building anything new. It takes a lot of work, mental and physical effort and time to start anything new. There is a very busy and industrious period of time before things can begin to ease into a routine and kind of success which helps to make us all feel more secure. This is a meantime of building something where more extreme resources are needed before we feel secure enough to ease into a new way of working, or a successful business, or getting a new venture off the ground. In the meantime, we will work very hard until…..we can relax. In the Starbucks case, until they had enough new business to hire an extra person to help the collective.

I love these transitional periods of time. They are so interesting, but rarely easy. It is these times that again, are about our growth.

I listened to a 3 minute talk today given by a man describing very eloquently the process of being and feeling confused. Most of us think of feeling confused as a negative experience because it is a difficult one, and one where we can often feel kind of stupid. At least that is how our minds speak to us; calling us names like stupid. He described a beautiful reframe of confusion. Our brains can feel confused but what is really happening is they are beginning to understand something new. It is at this precise time of beginning an understanding that isn't quite there yet where we feel what we call confusion. In the reframe what we should really call this is in process of learning. We are in process of learning and putting together or integrating new concepts. I guess we could even call this period of processing another in the meantime period of time. What we are doing in these time periods is beginning to process something new and unknown.

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