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A delay is not a denial. (Vernon Wright)

Embrace the Not Yet Space

One of the most challenging things is not being where we want to be. It is difficult to realize that there is space between where we are and where we want to go. I choose to live optimistically, looking forward and leaving space for Not Yet in my life. Sometimes it is discouraging not to be where we think we should be with hobbies, as an athlete, reaching financial goals, planning lessons, reaching students, and being where you want to be as an educator. But, there is value to be gained when we make space for Not Yet.  When we leave space for Not Yet, implies that we believe in someone or something and see potential in what is possible. Leaving Space for Not Yet means that we are willing to consider that it takes time to get from where we are to where we want to go. The Not Yet cannot be rushed.  Space for excellence is always available.  

Not Yet with Hobbies

Sometimes our work feels perfect, complete, and ready to be shared with the world.  And then, when we put it out there, it is initially rejected. Rejection directs us to the Not Yet space.  In the Not Yet space we can grow, rework our projects and move toward an even more impressive finish that we dreamed of before.  We can find fuel, and a product is improved when a creator is in the Not Yet space. 

Not Yet as an Athlete

Athletes often have a goal of where they want to be. The challenge is leaping from where we are to where we want to go. Sometimes, space is filled quickly, in as little as a few weeks, and then sometimes it takes more than 20 years to go from one place to the next. The space between our current location and our destination is filled with the Not Yet.

Not Yet with Finances

It is tough to wait when we are eager to pay off debt, save for something, or make adjustments to a financial plan. However, it is through the wait that we build endurance, character and redefine our goals. Being in the Not Yet space financially makes our arrival where we are financially successful so much better. When things happen too quickly, sometimes we take them for granted and don’t appreciate them as much as we would have if waiting was our only option.  

Not Yet with a Student

Sometimes it feels as though our effort should be what makes magic unfold. We might do everything right as an educator. We might spend endless hours trying to reach a student only to have interest or understanding not reciprocated. Remember, a delay in the response is not a denial. Sometimes we are doing all of the right things, sending the right emails, sharing the right resources, but it is not the right time for a student to connect. He or she is in his or her own Not Yet space. Realizing that a student is in the Not Yet space is proof that we are trying. It is proof that we have seen students and are aware of where they are at. The exciting thing is that there will be a time when every student is ready to move past the Not Yet space. 

Growth feels possible when the focus is on leaving space for Not Yet with a struggling student or class. Leaving space means we cannot push the student faster than he or she can go.

Not Yet with a Lesson

Sometimes a lesson is planned with the best intentions. Carefully crafted hooks are designed to get students excited about a topic, activities, and pacing perfectly laid out to engage the most students for the greatest amount of time.  And lastly, an opportunity for reflection and formative assessment is even in place to cap off the lesson.  

But, something happens. The lesson does not go as planned, and it is clear students are Not Yet at the point you thought they would be to follow and process the lesson. Initially, it might be frustrating and discouraging. Taking a step back and considering when students will be ready for the lesson or how it could be tweaked to better fit where the students are at might be all that you need to do. It’s okay that the students were not yet able to receive the lesson you had planned. The hard work spent planning is not lost. The time and effort planning needs to be reallocated. Sometimes subtle changes are all that is necessary to turn an okay lesson into a dynamic one. Appreciate the Not Yet space, and discover how it leads you to a depth that would not have been possible with a lesson that was not exactly a right fit for the students or content trying to be taught. 

Not Yet… Now What?

Realizing you are in the Not Yet space is challenging. Recognizing where you are is essential and is an important piece in moving forward. Rather than spending more time sitting idle in one area and focusing on where you have to go, consider setting aside what is not progressing and focus on another space where energy can be found. If financial goals are taking a long time to accomplish, focus instead on the goals you have with a certain hobby; or fitness as an athlete. When motivation begins to lack due to being at a plateau with progress for a goal, lean into an area where you can find motivation. Motivation in one space will keep you moving, so you have the momentum necessary to move when it becomes a reality in another space. Don’t rush the Not Yet Space. 

Remember- Delay is Not Denial

Focus on where you want to go, not where you are. (Kim Bearden)

When it is difficult to work with a student, or it seems like a struggle to move forward with a lesson plan or a class, leave space for the Not Yet. Delay is a reminder that there is an interest in moving forward. Being intentional about leaving space, gives someone permission to be at the Not Yet space.  It is difficult to embrace waiting.  Keep showing up in the Not Yet space, but at the same time, lean into motivation in another area of life to build momentum to be available when conditions might change. Leaving space is about giving grace.  It is not always easy but it will be worth it. There is no need to rush The Not Yet since there will always be Space for Excellence. 

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