I know I feel perpetually stuck – between the “here” and the “where I’m going;” between the “now” and the “then.” Being in-between can be a tough place to be.
That’s why today I’m really glad to be talking with a good friend and fellow Moody author, Jeff Goins about his new book The In-Between, which was just released last week. Jeff’s a great guy and his new book has a lot of important messages that he and I and probably you too have struggled to live out in our day to day lives. Check out a few excerpts from our conversation and then tell us what your in-between is!
Matt: Tell us a little bit about the genesis of the book.
Jeff: It started with a story I read about Steven Pressfield, who has authored books, screenplays and historical fiction and non-fiction. He put a lot of effort, struggle, sweat and tears into his first book and when he was finished, he took it to his neighbor to proudly show off. The neighbor read it, but his only reaction was, “Great, now go write another.”
In a lot of ways, it’s easy to make something – in Steven’s case, that first book – the final destination. We want to rest on our laurels and past accomplishments. But by the time you finish writing that first book, or whatever you are accomplishing, you have more skills and more knowledge, so you ought to keep going to another destination! So the book is a collection of anecdotal stories from my life, learning to celebrate where we’ve been and keep on moving toward a new destination while having the patience to see the journey through to the end.
Matt: I know I feel like I’m in a state of “in-between” in just about every area of my life. I have a vision for my art program and the reality is somewhere reaching toward that. I published one book, but I’d like to do more. There are places I’d like to go and things I’d like to do, and being “in-between” can be an uncomfortable place!
Jeff: That’s true. My wife and I have a little boy, and there are certainly things we’d like to do at this point in our lives. We’d love to travel, but that’s not a reality right now. We are in-between times when that’s a possibility. But this phase of life is temporary, so we’re learning to be patient with it and celebrate it. With my work and writing, I know what I’d like my writing to look like. I have a vision in my head, but what comes out on my keyboard isn’t quite there yet. I’m in between what I’d like to be able to produce and what I actually can produce.
Matt: I can totally relate. I’ve realized that whatever accomplishment I’m working toward, whether it’s in my career or at home or in my writing, the period of time that is the sweetest to me is right before the task is completed. It’s the anticipation of success that I enjoy the most, but when the accomplishment does happen, my attention immediately turns to “What’s next?” How do we balance our dreams for the future with embracing the present? We don’t want to rest on our laurels, but we don’t want to be discontent and unhappy forever either.
Jeff: That’s the big thing. Learning to celebrate what we’ve got while not settling for less in the future. Here’s the thing: we are all going to get to “then” or “there” one day, whatever that is. Tomorrow will come. We will reach some milestone in life. “Tomorrow” becomes “today,” “there” becomes “here.” I’ve spent much of my life not being content with today, and then what happens? I get to “tomorrow,” and I’m not content with that either. If we aren’t content with today and our accomplishments, then we won’t be satisfied with tomorrow and our future accomplishments.
Matt: That’s been the big struggle for me. Discontentment is a joy-killer. That’s the thing about the in-between. It’s tension. It’s unsettled. But we’re never going to be rid of it! It’s better to embrace it.
So where are you? You’re in-between something, so where is it? Do you desire to go to a new place, accomplish something new, learn something new? Everyone’s got it. Tell us about it. And be sure to check out Jeff’s book. You’ll be glad you did.