Take the First Step

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Just Take the First Step…

To do it, or not to do it? That is the question. Yes, that might be the question, but thinking about that question really doesn’t get us anywhere, does it?

Many times we end up stuck doing very little because the goal lying before us just seems too overwhelming and difficult to achieve.

We see the goal as a huge mountain that must be climbed. And of course this mountain is steep and there are many bounders and trees blocking our path. It just seems too arduous and taxing to even comprehend that we will ever successfully reach the summit. However, what if your goal wasn’t at the top of a mountain? What if we could view the goal from a slightly different vantage point?

Let’s imagine for a moment that the mountain suddenly morphs into a giant staircase. Yes, your goal is still far off at the top of this staircase, however the difference now is that there are clearly defined steps that can direct you towards that goal.

Now, of course looking up at this gigantic staircase can be quite an overwhelming experience. In fact, the staircase might be so large and your goal so high that you can’t even see where it ends. Or worse, a fog might set in and prevent you from seeing any more than two or three steps ahead.

This can of course be somewhat concerning. Not being able to see more than a few steps ahead can bring about fear and uncertainty. Who knows what exists beyond that third step? Who knows whether or not there is even a fourth step? What if it’s a really big step that forces you to exude a little more effort? There’s just too much uncertainty there. And uncertainty of course leads to fear. Maybe you should just wait for the fog to clear up… maybe one day… someday… or maybe not.

Why in the world do we need the fog to clear up? Can’t we just take the first step? Do we really need to see the entire staircase before beginning our journey? Even if we saw the entire staircase it would be next to impossible to climb the whole staircase with one step. So either way we can only take one step at a time, so why not take the first step we see?

Take that first step… yes you… right now! What happened? What do you see?

By taking that first step you now have a new vantage point. You are one step higher along your journey and one step closer to your ultimate goal. Yes, of course being a little higher doesn’t mean that the fog has suddenly cleared up, however what it does mean is that you might now be able to see an additional step ahead. And even if it’s just one single step, then that’s all you need to step forward once again.

After every step you take you will gain a new vantage point of the staircase, and sooner or later the fog will clear and you will see your goal in full view. But the only way you’ll get there is to keep stepping forward one step at a time.

Of course every step will not be equal. Some steps will be significantly bigger than others and will require more energy and effort on your part. While other steps will be small and easy to walk over. But then of course you need to be aware of those slippery steps that might trip you up and knock you back down the staircase. This is of course okay and expected. After all wherever there’s fog there is ultimately always some condensation which can cause you to lose your footing. But you will learn from this experience and will know better next time how to navigate these slippery steps when you get to them.

Just keep climbing. Keep climbing one step at a time. The higher you climb the more you’ll see and the closer you will be to your ultimate goal.

Action Points

The next time you feel kind of stuck, hesitant or overwhelmed with the thought of achieving a goal, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s my first step?
  • What one thing can I do right here right now that will help me move closer to my ultimate goal?
  • What challenges might I face when taking this step?
  • How will I overcome these challenges?
  • What’s my next step?

Just keep climbing higher and higher one step at a time. The higher you climb the more you’ll see. You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take that first step. Eventually the fog will clear and your goal will come into full view. Just trust the process.

IQ Matrix Maps

Here are links to complementary IQ Matrix posters that go into more depth about this topic:

  • Drawing Plan of Action: Create an action plan to give you the confidence you need at every step.
  • Fake it to Make it: There is uncertainty with every step. Faking it can help you handle uncertainty.
  • Overcoming Obstacles: As you take each step you will need to know how to overcome obstacles.
  • Conquering Self-Doubt: As you face obstacles there will be doubt. You need to know how to handle it.
  • A Curious Nature: Curiosity will encourage you to ask better questions and overcome obstacles.

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