Fissure: a long, narrow opening or line of breakage made by cracking or splitting

When we think about making changes, pivots or transitions it’s usually a fairly big undertaking. A bridge or maybe a chasm to be crossed.

Whilst we don’t know the whole terrain and the length of the journey, we  usually tend to have a picture in our minds of what we’re getting into and where we’re going.

What we don’t recognise so much are the fissures.

The fissures can appear just before the edge of the cliff.

They can show up at various points over the bridges we’re crossing.

More surprisingly they can also be present on seemingly secure and well-treaded paths.

Some fissures are easy to spot, but others can be so small they’re invisible to the eye.

When we can’t see them with our own eyes we have to sense them in other ways – intuition, the feel of the ground underneath us, or through the feedback of others who have taken a similar path.

Some fissures don’t make any impact at all – we can tread on them and the ground won’t give way underneath us. We’re probably not even aware of them.

Others suddenly open up in a way that traps or even poisons us, and it can be incredibly hard to navigate our way out of something that on the surface appears so small and inconsequential.

And then there are the fissures that provide an opening of a different kind – a new opportunity, a fresh idea, an opposite direction, an alternative way of thinking. Chip away at these and we can break off something unique, all of our own.


When we’re thinking about what may be next, we can choose to stay home where it’s comfortable, not needing to head outside into the unknown.

We can choose to tread slowly, carefully, with our eyes down so we can spot every crack and line on the road.

We can sprint with wild abandon, limbs pumping, eyes on the summit, using our momentum and power to propel us from any trouble.

Or maybe we can try another way?


I’m currently reading Scott Belsky’s book The Messy Middle and whilst ostensibly it’s not written about this specific topic, almost all the bitesize lessons and ideas talk about fissures – the small lines, breaks and cracks as we negotiate our messy middles.

The fissures on your path

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