Your Brain Can’t Handle Gaps

By Nancy Fredericks


Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.

As Aldous Huxley said, “There are things known, and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”

I call this The Explanation Gap. And how you handle these information holes will either harm your professional future or boost it. Unknowingly, you getting in your way is often the crux of underwhelming careers.

It goes like this: an interaction occurs where you expect a subsequent interface. An “Explanation Gap” is triggered when the second contact doesn’t happen, is delayed, or the outcome is at odds with your expectation.

When you experience an unexplained gap, your brain reaches into your bag of beliefs and begins stuffing that pause with plausible explanations. In reality, your mind is guessing as a way to create a story you can accept as a probability with no solid evidence supporting it. But the trouble comes in as we move forward as though our gap fillers are genuine. They’re sneaky suckers who, if you allow, will
undermine your future.

Everyone pours something into “The Explanation Gap.” It’s a decision you get to make.

If you’re self-confident, you’re more likely to drench it with empowering thoughts. However, if your self-belief is diminished or underdeveloped, you’ll find yourself stamping the gap with negative stories that are disempowering, lessens who you are in your eyes, and are injurious to your career. In reality, neither attitude is factual as yet, but your attitude influences the direction of your life and career. You’re the creator of a satisfying, fulfilling career which begins in your brain and emerges externally in your life and career.

“Explanation Gaps” occur all day long. Scary, isn’t it? Can you imagine how much they are impacting you either constructively or unfavorably?

Think about yourself. What side of the equation do you dip into more often?

You can turn it around if you’re not keen on what you’ve discovered about yourself. Trust me!

Shift your internal dialogue. That’s where conscious change takes place. Start filling that insidious “Explanation Gap” with self-talk that empowers you. How you handle the gaps makes or breaks the quality of your life…and thus your career. Only through consistent intentionality will you be able to stand front and center as the proud, powerful being that you are.

Transform your storytelling. Did you discover your accounts more often include “fear” or “less-than” elements, or are they “hopeful” and “expanding?” Both have a future attached to them though neither is the truth yet. So, which mindset do you believe positions you for a more empowered future? And which will generate the reality you would desire?

Presume positive intent. You live in the tension of the unknown… how you respond is continually impacting the fullness of your life. Discovering the possibilities in every circumstance affects the likelihood of you flourishing. You draw to yourself what you spend time focusing your thoughts on. It is powerful when you interpret every situation or gap as moving you forward into all that you
intend to generate. Imagine how lovely your life would be living in this as your mental reference—instead of viewing the world based on adverse outcomes.

Your mind can be a powerful creation generator or barrier…. You get to choose which mentality your life will experience.

So, what are you going to take on newly? How will you make sure you challenge your “Explanation Gaps” where it is helpful rather than harmful? Will you take responsibility for how you see and experience your world?

Get going on this mental reframing right away because this is something that will give you the foundation for your success today and into your future.

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