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Pillar 4 – Developmental Gap Work
Exercise 1 – The Gap Finder
Gap Finder Instructions:
This exercise is absolutely crucial to your positive path forward. It is the key action in creating a roadmap towards a better future, where you are making the choices and building the skills that will change your life for the better, so launch in with a spirit of excitement for the changes it will bring.
The Gap Finder has several components and will need thought and persistence.
Print this document and then putting a check next to the habits you have mastered and a cross next to the ones that still need work. Answer the questions to the best of your knowledge for yourself and for your partner.
The longer that you have known your partner and the better you know yourself, the better will be the results you get with this. If you have not known each other long it may help you to ask someone who knows you both and who you trust for an objective opinion.
Even if your partner pretends to be good at something, really think about it and ask other people they know, to be sure.
You are looking for good habits to be in place in each of these areas.
They might be pretending everything is fine at work for instance, but if you called one of their colleges and asked discreetly, you might be surprised what you hear!
Now, of course, you need to be careful about this and really think of the best people to ask to be discrete and caring about this.
Once finished, please circle any of the areas where one of you has mastered this skill but the other hasn’t and then circle and put a big star against each area where neither of you has mastered the skill.
Now you have found your gaps – the areas for which you need to learn to depend on each other for help and the areas where you might both be falling down.
Next, look at your partner’s list and decide which gap is causing them the most stress. For example, you might be upset about their lack of honesty or bad manners but they may be much more worried that they are not cutting it in their chosen career.
Now number each gap in the order of priority that you feel your partner would list them and do the same for your own gaps, with the gap that causes you the most stress being number 1.
On a new piece of paper, pick your top three and put your worst estimation of your skills on the far left and your highest on the far right (e.g. unskilled laborer on the left, and highly paid professional on the right) and really look and let the gap in the middle sink in.
Now step by step I want you to think of ideas of how to fill this gap by learning new skills, making certain each step is small and doable! In my example above, it might be to learn basic computer skills, learn to type, learn MYOB, Learn Excel, etc.
Getting your partner to look at their major gap in this way can be a moment of deep realisation. This gap is exactly what our ego avoids us from looking at.
The points you put stars next to earlier are your blind spots as a couple. What steps would it take to fill in those gaps as well?
Look at these together if your partner is open to it. Imagine how your life might be different if you worked on them. See a very positive goal you might achieve together. These are areas you can work on together helping each other.
If your partner is not open to this, still these are the areas where you can be inspirational and show that things are changing and that they’d better keep up!
You doing your own gap work with courage will encourage your partner. Make it a game and spice it up with a little competition to keep it fun.
The areas where you support each other may need work and they may not. Maybe you can be generous and say, “Hey, I don’t mind doing that for you but maybe you could help me over here?”
Always work on the positive gains to be had from mastering these skills. For instance, don’t talk about dishonesty being bad if this is a gap. Pushing the idea of not lying because lying is ‘bad’ will not motivate someone to become more honest. Instead talk about trustworthiness being good. See that when someone can be trusted they gain more freedom.
The complete opposite of this is someone being put in jail because they can’t be trusted. Being honest actually means you gain freedom, recognition and public respect. This is worth working towards.
The points you most want to see your partner work on might not be at the top of their list, but if you help them to get the gaps they are most worried about ‘filled in’ they are going to be more relaxed and able to look at the changes you might want. This will also build trust when they see that you are concerned about their happiness and not just challenging them to suit you.
Please remember a challenge is much more attractive and exciting than a complaint or criticism. “I bet you can . . .”, “I bet you can’t . . .”, “let see if you can’t . . . ”, “I bet if you put your mind to it you could . . .” are all examples of challenging rather than complaining. Keep a twinkle in your eye and make it fun and you will start building long term intimacy and attachment, as well as becoming more attractive and fun to be with.
Being challenged just enough that we grow in ways that benefit us—without feeling that we are under unreasonable pressure—is the key to a meaningful and happy life. What a gift to be able to offer our family :)
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