On Being at the Bottom of the U


A couple of years ago I heard the phrase ‘Being at the Bottom of the U’.  It was during an interview where Marie Forleo and Todd Henry were discussing creative projects.  (https://www.marieforleo.com/2015/08/find-your-voice/)  The journey was explained like this: As you start out, you feel clarity, excitement and have your eye on the other side – where you can’t wait to be!

So, you start the trek, hiking down the U, chugging along on your project.  As you near the bottom, things get murky, frustrating, claustrophobic and confusing.  And at the very bottom of the U you may find yourself questioning Hold on, where am I going? Wait, what am I even doing this for again?  Was this all worth even starting?

There are doubts, fears, overwhelm in buckets and frustrations galore. But one foot continues in front of the other, and you eventually climb up to the top of the other side.  Once up there, you look back and once again have clarity and can understand where you came from.  ‘Wow, look where I am now!” 


RETURNING FROM CHICAGO A FEW WEEKS AGO… I had no idea what I was in store for. I fled to avoid some major demo that was scheduled for the Virginia project South Cove Point. The garage to home office conversion was almost complete and we were starting on the house!

When I returned, I truly didn’t know where to start.  Cabinets were down, floors ripped up, drywall dust everywhere, electrical that wasn’t working, and the house was freezing.  You guys, the DUST.  I’m usually a very strategic person and I didn’t know what my next move was.  So many new things had popped up that I couldn’t get a handle on priorities anymore!

During an attempt to find dog food for Toby’s breakfast and an outlet for the coffee pot, something went crashing down onto the floor.  Knowing I love this analogy, my guy smiled and said, ‘So are we at the Bottom of the U?’  It broke the tension and we could not stop laughing.  The rest of the week if we heard a crash in another room someone would call out, “Bottom of the you, hon, Bottom of the U!” And it would make me laugh every time.


This phrase used to occur to me often during my IT career when we would be immersed in long projects and hit that point of confusion on where we were going with all the twists, turns and setbacks.

Now I can see how it applies to this renovation project.

Actually, much like ‘this too shall pass’ I could even apply it to matters of the heart, relationship hardships, and times I’ve done tough emotional work.

When rolling in the swamp at the bottom all you can do is put one foot in front of the other.  Dust the first spoon on the counter and grab the next!

Recognizing I’m at the bottom of the U and letting out a laugh about it has felt good lately – maybe it will help you, too – scream from the other room if you’re there!