• Keith Shaw

Closing the Gap

Updated: Jul 11, 2019

I cannot write what it felt like to have Tanja be away while I struggled with the new awareness of The Gap. It was not pleasant (read: stomach churning, no sleep…) and it made it difficult for me to come up with a plan of action. Although I had not seen The Gap coming, we were early in the going that I knew I could do something about it.

First I tried to write out how I felt. If you are reading this, you can get an idea of my skill (or not) in communicating ideas with the written word. It’s been my go to for years. Whatever I wrote sounded far too accusatory, “blamey” and unfair. No matter how many revisions, I could not get it right.

I felt I had to get my thoughts down proactively as discussing the issue in real time, with someone who has not had a week to think about it could be counterproductive. I knew my emotion would be a hindrance to honoring Tanja and her innocence in the matter.

In the end, and I hope this specific method serves some of you, I ended up recording a voice memo on my iPhone. I recorded the message (safely don’t worry!) while I was driving home from work one day shortly before Tanja got home. I was able to express my overarching love, the situation I thought we were in and how we could work together to avoid calamity.

And then I gave it to Tanja. This thing I had potentially made up in my head was now with her for evaluation. Happily, Tanja recognized the potential issues our individual paths of growth could cause. If she had not, if she had not mindfully taken in the idea, listened to me, considered it, I expect that by now I could be writing a different article.

We both agreed that we had spent too much time in endeavors that were separately fulfilling and we needed to get back to our basic vows to prioritize our marriage/relationship. We took a little trip together to reconnect and plan, and the real work came after. The three things that supported us in growing together were:

1. Courage in communication: After this experience, it was much easier to communicate to each other with courage. If we had an issue, we were able to reduce it down to action without longish funks while we waited for the other to “figure it out”.

2. Open-mindedness: Once Tanja understood my point of view (her empathy for people is amazing) she was able to relate her experience and support ideas to help me understand what she was doing and that’s led to growth for me as a result. I was happy to be open and not confuse the impact of what was happening with any nefarious intent from Tanja.

3. Tangible planning for connection: We were living with full agendas most days and to simply expect that we’ll “find time” to connect with meaning was folly. We decided to ensure we had the time that was most important to us by scheduling it in.

I hope you take away from this article that courage can be honest communication. That there are a number of seemingly practical/too simple steps (voice memos and a shared calendar) that you can use to ensure your communication is not simply brave, but effective as well.

Where are you hiding out in your communication? Are there aspects of your relationships with your partner, family or coworker or other that you could bring out into the light with some planning and a little courage?

You are invited to a Zoom meeting- “6 Secrets of the World’s Most Successful People”.

When: Jan 30, 2019 4:30 PM Vancouver, PST. (7:30 PM EST)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Download Zoom in advance and see you on the 30th!

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