Navigating the ‘messy middle’ of your professional growth: a helpful hack


Growth is never easy, 

One of the most challenging parts of up-levelling in our careers is navigating our way through, what I call, the ‘messy middle’. 

The ‘messy middle’ is the often uncomfortable part of our growth – that sits between our old habits, behaviours, strategies and ways of thinking, and the ones our Future Self needs us to step into, to progress and move forward. 

What I see happen, time and time again in my work with mid-career professional women, is this

The women who persevere and commit to staying the course through the messy middle (no matter how hard it gets) are the ones who successfully make the transition into the next phase of their careers.

They are the ones who are stepping up to the next level of leadership, being offered promotions and getting seen as the ones to watch, in their organisations.

The fact of the matter is, that change and professional growth never come if we allow ourselves to be paralysed by our fear and discomfort.

Professional growth requires us to act with courage.  

There is no shortcut or bypassing the discomfort.  It’s part of the process that we must embrace in order to get to the other side. 

Let me share some of my most successful tried-and-tested strategies with you  for transitioning through the “messy middle.”

  1. Call in support

One thing the ladies in my Ignite and Leadership Connection programs tell me time and time again, is that they would not be where they are in their careers, or had the skills and confidence to navigate the ‘messy middle’, if they hadn’t had the support to keep them moving forward. 

Stepping into the next level of leadership is uncharted territory, and it takes guidance, support and accountability (especially from someone who has been where you are!) to make the journey feel easier and less overwhelming.

  1. Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable

Many women are under the impression that if something feels really uncomfortable, it’s because they’ve made a ‘wrong’ decision. 

But this isn’t always the case. In fact, I’d dare to say that everyone who is aspiring for growth in their career will feel some level of discomfort no matter how many years of experience they have tucked under their belt.

New things take practice and up-levelling in your career requires you to ‘re-wire’ and learn new skills, habits and behaviours – and this will often stretch you outside what feels familiar or comfortable. 

Discomfort is completely normal!

  1. See the ‘messy middle’ as a good thing

While it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the ‘messy middle’, another way to look at it is through a more positive lens. After all, being in the ‘messy middle’ ultimately means that you’re moving forward and making progress!

This chapter is absolutely worth celebrating because it means you’re actively getting one step closer, each day, to where you want to be.

There is much gold to glean in this period of great change and growth.

The career you aspire for yourself really is just one decision away, on the other side of messiness. 

You get to decide whether or not you say ‘yes!’ – you truly do hold all the power in your hands. 

We have many mid career professional women, who have successfully navigated their ‘messy middle’, over in our free Facebook Group.  Join in the conversation and ask for advice, here.




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