How To #Thrive In The Messy Middle No One Wants to Talk About

Starting is just that - The Beginning, let's get messy

I did it!! I survived my 5k race this past weekend coz I wanna kickstart my birthday week being healthy & all 🎉🎉
Tbh though, I got mixed feelings about it 🤷🏻‍♀️ On one end, I do feel stronger, on the other end… well, my legs aren’t gonna work for a few more days 🙈
It’s been YEARS since I did my 1st one, and I hardly practiced for it – but I did it & finished at a whooping 13 minute mile pace 😰

Have you ever done a 5k race before? Seriously. Drop it in the comments & lemme know I’m not alone.

The thing is, everyone I talked to told me to “Just Start” and that all you gotta do is “Finish Strong”, but nobody told me about the “Messy Middle”, and it was quite messy alright 💩 Ok, I didn’t actually 💩 my 👖 while running (thank goodness), but definitely lots of lessons learned on what I need to dd better for next time, and I think it also applies to the messy middle of running a business so here’s my top 10 takeaways on how to survive #Thrive in the “Messy Middle”:

1 – Be strategic. Weird thing to say about running, I know. But since I am slow as a 🐢  I needed to take advantage of the downhills to boost my speed, and walk 🏃🏻‍♀️ on the uphills to conserve my energy. Yes, that’s my philosophy in business too. Make good use of downtime (like migraine days) & make time for naps during busy launch days #HealthFirst #ShowUpAsYourBestSelf

2 – Make sure you have the right tools in place. Yes, yes. I’m a techie & a nerdie. I gotta talk about tools on pretty much all conversation, including running 😆 Here’s the thing… it was 41*F (5C) during my race, I ran in shorts and flip flops, my legs would probably have frozen stiff as a popsicle even before I started the race. Can you imagine running a business in today’s fast-paced world without techy systems in place?

3 – Surround yourself with supportive cheerleaders. There were plenty of times during the race (& in my business) when I wanted to quit. If it weren’t for my family & close friends cheering me on, I probably would never have crossed that finish line. And I never want any of my #businessbesties to feel like they’re running on empty & too overwhelmed to keep going. I’m having sooo fun being on the cheerleader squad for my peeps & seeing how far they’ve come!! 🎉🎉

4 – Know WHY you’re in the race.  I saw there were peeps running to celebrate their 50th birthday or just coz they wanna hang with friends. For me, I wanted to kickstart my fitness. I know that running is just the start & not the end-all-be-all to getting to my goals. And it’s the same for my business, I know why I’m in the business “race” & it’s the core principles I built my business on (which you can find in my About Me page)

5 – Plan ahead. Did I mention this race happened at 8:30 in the morning, around a lake that’s half hour away from my house? That meant everything had to be ready the night before coz it was a grab-and-go kinda morning coz I had to be out the door by 7am to beat traffic, find a parking spot, and walk to the starting point of the race. Just like in business, you never wanna miss the opportunity by showing up late or unprepared.

6- Check your blindspots but stay in your lane. Truth be told, I was constantly passed by other runners. But, hey, I wasn’t the slowest in the bunch either 🐌  But the thing is, I can NEVER be in the same exact spot as the other person in the race – that’d be a collision & it ain’t pretty. In business, sometimes we follow someone else’s footprint & have peeps around us to help us with our blindspots – but we need to show up in our own lane & own it – coz it’s our unique positioning that the world needs.

7 – Your only true competition is yourself. When these cheetahs, I meant runners, passed me by, I gotta admit that I was a bit jealous of them speedy peeps. At the end of the day, by taking slow, imperfect steps forward, I was still inching my way to the finish line. It may not be as fast or graceful as the others, but as long as I was doing MY best, that’s what counts. Besides, I knew I needed to go my own pace or else I’d risk an injury or burnout. 

8 – Cheaters never win. There were plenty of ways where one could “cheat” in this race. There’s spots where you could cut corners and not hit the next checkpoint. Sure you’ll get to the finish line faster. But people are ALWAYS watching. Besides you’re only cheating yourself (& why even race?) 🙈 Sure they may “get ahead” a little bit but it’s NOT a sustainable way to get fit, or build a business. 

9 – Even races are play-to-pay. Yes, running outside is free. Or if you own a treadmill, that can also be considered free. But what you’re missing out is the support and the energy from the other runners that I personally find motivates me to keep going even when I thought I couldn’t go anymore. So all the free Google “advice” I find online is ok, but the info I get when I invest in a coach &/or a program – mindblowing & gets me to my goals faster, keeps me motivated to keep going (coz paying for something itself is motivation enough 😅) & definitely more fun!

10 – Have fun & celebrate your wins. I like to listen to music when I’m running. It makes the run much more fun & less ‘work’. And after the race, I #treatmyself to yummy food, a nice relaxing bath, and tell my family & friends all about my experience so they can also celebrate with me! Of course, I use any excuse to eat yummy food – including my business success milestone!! 🍦🍫🥂

So there you have it – the mystery of the Messy Middle & my top 10 tips on how to #Thrive while you’re going through it all.
Do you have another one to add? Or feedback on the ones I mentioned? Drop them in the comments & do share your thoughts!


Do you need some help increasing your sales this year & not being caught in the 💩  messy middle of your biz? DM me the word “THRIVE” on IG @PassionBreakthrough, I might have something for you.

Quick Bio about the Author: Dianne Shelton is a former Fortune 500 management consultant turned business strategist and certified Coach. Her mission is to help you get the clarity & structure you need to get unstuck from Idea Land to your Ideal Life so that you can share your gifts with the world.
She has helped hundreds of women through her direct, on-point coaching style that provides more clarity and just the right amount of structure. Her work has been featured on Female Entrepreneur Association, Brainz Magazine, Empowered Woman Spotlight, Thrive Global, and Medium.
She spends her free time traveling in search of good friend chicken and hanging out with her 3 younger siblings when she’s introverting at home.
Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook @PassionBreakthrough


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