Small Steps

This week’s video challenge is about small steps. When we set goals we often look at the big picture and then get upset when our big plans don’t work out or everything falls through. In my work and in my own life I focus on creating small steps to get to my bigger goals. Focusing on small steps connects us to the reinforcing energy our small successes give us, and we learn more from our small successes and small failures along the way.

Sometimes taking our goals one small step at a time can change what we think the big picture is…for the better.

The metaphor I use in my sessions to explain how big goals can happen, and perhaps even change, through the accomplishment of small goals is from one of my very favorite movies: The Wizard of Oz. 

When Dorothy lands in Oz her big goal is to find out how to get home. She has no idea how to get home until she meets Glinda, who shows Dorothy to the yellow brick road. Dorothy begins her journey on the yellow brick road literally having to start with putting one foot in front of the other, facing her uncertainty with small steps. The road unfurls and expands with each step, and as it does she starts to skip along her merry way with loads of encouragement from the munchkins.

When we start with small steps on our goals, we feed on the excitement of and encouragement from our friends and families. Slowing down to a walk meant that Dorothy meets characters—like the scarecrow, the tin-man and the lion—who help her along the way. If she had continued to skip happily along or ran to find the great and powerful Wizard of Oz she would have missed out on important lessons that shaped her.

Slow down, be present in the moment and be observant of emerging opportunities you could not have foreseen.

We can learn from Dorothy when it comes to working on our goals. It’s important to be mindful and aware of our surroundings. It’s also important to be connected to the present — and not too caught up in the future, lest we miss out on important moments or opportunities happening now.

On her journey to meet the Wizard, with her ultimate goal being to get back home, Dorothy hits some roadblocks, and fear creeps into her being. When we set out on our journey of life and our goals that we want to accomplish, challenges are inevitable…as is fear. Sometimes a challenge can make us want to give up on our goal; other times it can take us in a new direction.

When faced with a challenge, we can’t give up. We must stop a moment, take a deep breath and embrace the roadblock as a lesson.

Maybe we really need to go in a different direction than originally planned. Most times that alternative direction takes us to amazing places or dreams that we didn’t think could exist for us. At the end of the movie, Dorothy realizes her power always existed inside of her and not in the Great and Powerful Oz. How true it is for all us that our power lies within ourselves.

We just have to believe in our strength in order to see it, to feel it, and to act on it. Each of us is an amazing human being — and it shows the most when we are attuned to the strength within us. When we know how much power we have inside, we set and accomplish our goals, and reach our full potential. Dorothy discovered her strength by starting with her own small steps at the beginning of her journey on the yellow brick road, allowing people to help her along the way, not letting her fear paralyze her, or her roadblocks stop her. Most importantly, she realized her gift was inside her.

Think about your goals or your dreams. Write them out on a piece of paper or in a journal. Now think about your small steps. What is one small step that you need to take to move forward?

Remember you only have to go one step at time because you don’t want to miss out on what is right in front of you.

Let’s keep the big picture out of this process for now. Big pictures have a habit of asking you why you have not hit your goal yet, and with that questioning can come a negative voice in your head. If the negative voice crops up, put it in its place by returning to the moment of right here, right now. Remind yourself of the importance of small steps, and small successes along the way.

When a baby is learning how to walk, he or she isn’t just born with the ability to walk. Learning to walk is a process or learning how to roll over, sit up, crawl, and stand up with support. The day eventually comes when babies get up the courage to take one small step without support, followed by another step, and another. The first few times, and for days, babies take their first steps and they fall. That’s ok…they just get back up. They are learning a pretty important life skill. They try, try, and try again, and then they succeed. When we watch babies learn to walk, we encourage, we give praise, we smile and we comfort. And it helps the baby know they are on the right track.

Think about our own goals and our small steps — just like a baby learning to walk, our goals and small steps take time. We need to be encouraging of ourselves, to be OK knowing that we could fall down…and to remember we just need to get back up each time.

I hope that you have written your next small step. Good luck with each small step you take on your own yellow brick road. Be kind and encouraging to yourself with each step you take. And remember that the strength you need to accomplish your goals is within you.