Baby Steps or Long Jumps: Either Will Get You Where You Want to Go.
It’s so easy to get sucked into thinking that big, dramatic moments and movements are the only ones worth celebrating. Athletics are a prime example. We love watching Olympians compete and set new world records, but we downplay our own efforts to change from being a couch potato to someone who regularly walks a mile four times a week.
Big achievements are absolutely worth cheering, but that doesn’t mean they’re all that’s praiseworthy. I think in some ways it takes more determination and more courage to celebrate your baby steps. I also think the world in general would benefit if we all paid more attention to little bits and pieces of progress.
One of the biggest hurdles to celebrating small steps is comparison. If I’m on track for a $20,000 year in my very first business, that’s certainly worth a loud “Woohoo!” However, if I look at someone who’s in her fifth year of business and is moving toward $100,000, my $20K starts looking pretty measly. That’s unfortunately the nature of comparisons: Someone inevitably ends up looking “less”. Why waste your energy on that?
The only really motivating, energizing comparison is between who you are now and who you used to be. Note that I didn’t say who you are and who you could be. If you focus on could, you’re way too likely to, again, start comparing yourself unfavorably with other people or with what you feel you yourself “should” have already accomplished. Instead, you’ll feel far more confident and accomplished if you look at the old you and the new one, then track just how far you’ve come.
Since I tend to fall prey to this myself, I’ve just committed to making a daily list which I call, “Damn, I’m good!” On it, I’m keeping track of all the things I’ve done well today, no matter if they look little or not. An activity wins a place on this list if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
- I feel good about having done it.
- It represents a commitment I followed through on.
- It’s something I did for the very first time.
- It required me to push through discomfort in order to achieve the end result.
Needless to say, big things will get on this list: signing a new client, being asked to speak at a national conference, winning an award. But, since there are, by definition, more little accomplishments in life than big ones, I’m also celebrating those baby steps: getting a blog post out on the scheduled day, cleaning out my inbox, learning how to add a Facebook Like button to my web pages.
What about you? What are some of the small steps you’re taking that you know are moving you closer to your big goal? Let us know so we can cheer you on!
(BTW, thanks to berenicegg, whose darling image of a baby bravely taking steps I found on flickr.)This entry was posted in productivity and tagged baby steps, commitment, courage. Bookmark the permalink.