I helped a friend today work on setting up her new studio space. She is converting an area in her home to be a dedicated studio, one she can leave set up all the time and share with other creatives. It was hard work and we enjoyed the progress as the day went along. When I left the space was not in any way near completion, but there was progress towards her goal. She probably has several more days to get her space just how she wants it. She is stuck between the before and the after, living amidst the chaos and incompletion we worked so hard to create.

As I drove home I thought about the chaos she was still going to have to deal with, and how exciting that was. What? Chaos is exciting? Yes, chaos can be very exciting. It means there is change a foot and something new is on the horizon. Chaos brings the opportunity for a fresh start and new ways of thinking. Unfortunately we don’t often see it that way because all we can focus on is the chaos. We see the temporary state, the mess, the to do items to get it how we want, and we lose sight of the goal. We forget that before there is an ‘after’ shot there has to be a ‘before’ shot. And lots of work, sweat, effort, and mess comes before we reach the world we want to call ‘after’.

I cheer my friend who is making a big change. It takes courage and commitment to change your world, and survive the mess between before and after. It takes vision and energy and pride in yourself to chase your dreams. It takes bruises and scratches, bumps and lots of chaos to reach that after state. When I left we could see that ‘after’ was on it’s way, but farther along in her calendar. She knew, I knew, we all knew that there was a bit more chaos to come before she reached her ‘after’. And a lot of the chaos to come she would have to do alone. Only she could organize and put things exactly where she wanted them. One she could move and rearrange and store and process how she wants her studio to look and feel while she creates. She may have been tired after another day of working on her space, but I’m proud of her for owning the hard work and sticking to her goal.

What before are you working on to reach your after? What do you want to change in your world, your spaces to make it possible for you to be a better version of you? The after is worth the before, deal with the ensuing chaos and stick to your plan. The ‘after’ will be worth it.