Image of painted lines on the ground, including the word "zone"

Let’s talk about The Groan Zone.

There’s a time in every project where the bottom falls out. The beginning is so great because it’s got so much enthusiasm, and even if you’re scared of it, even if you’re doing something that makes you nervous, there’s a lot of energy there.

And when you get to the end, you don’t want to hide. When things get to the end it looks like it might really be real. And then you distract yourself sometimes, but most of the time there’s a real push to the end, like, Oh, I’m almost done. Oh, this could be great. And getting it out in the world and sharing it with other people is so exciting.

But this middle, this Groan Zone…

Groan Zone is a phrase that I learned from my friend, Sam Kaner, up in the Bay area. He’s got a business called Communities at Work and they do consensus work and organizational diagnostics- if you’ve got a problem in your group or office, he will come in and figure out what it is.

He gave two meetings about trying to achieve consensus when you’ve got two or more opposing points of view, and you’re just at that point in the meeting where you’re like, well, we’re just never going to agree. This is never going to work out. There is no compromise. There is no way out of this. We’re just doomed. We’re deadlocked.

It’s terrible, like all the energy has gone, and all the will to find a solution has gone.

And he says this is the point of magic. This is the point of transformation. If you can hold people in the space, through the Groan Zone, they’re breaths away from finding the solution that’s really going to move them forward.

So, I want to encourage you in that as well. If you’ve got a project that you got to the middle of and quit (or are in the middle of and want to quit), I want you to take the opportunity to go deeper into the work. What is really there for you? Where are you being asked to grow? Where are you being called forward? Where are you being pushed? Also, what other elements can you bring in? This is a great time to bring in a buddy system or an accountability system, or to sign up for a workshop or a class, or get a mentor, or join Sam’s Pro Club.

Invest a little more so that you can reconnect with your energy around the project. Sam’s Pro Club, which you may or may not know, is sort of my higher-end industry circle mentorship group for creative entrepreneurs, but it’s also true for the people in Turn Your Wisdom Into Workshops (we’ve had record enrollment in that workshop). It is so fun and so exciting, and people are doing such amazing things. We’re about to head into session three. Those of you who teach workshops may know… all right, and not even workshops… the third of anything can sometimes get a little weird- the third rehearsal, the third date, the third meeting, the third session

I think it’s, again, because of that Groan Zone thing, like the initial hulu has worn off and now we’re actually into the work of it. Now we’re running up against the barriers that we’ve run up against before. Our old patterns are kicking back in. It’s just the lack of charm on number three.

So, if you’ve taken classes with me, you’ll know that I will often start out the third session by saying, look, if you are feeling discouraged, discombobulated, disillusioned, disenchanted, disenfranchised, or just kind of grumpy about the whole thing, that that’s completely normal. That’s a completely predictable stage in organizational growth and in your own personal growth.