Achieving Big Goals With Small Steps
Sometimes, when we start a new business or we’re swamped by our old one, it can be overwhelming to consider the idea of adding another project, course or career to the mix.
How can we possibly fit all of it into our lives?
This question reminds me of a story…
A little over a year ago, a coach I know started her own business.
She’d been an author all of her life, but she wanted to use her writing skills in a new way, so she took courses in marketing and set to work on helping others learn how to promote their services.
And as you can imagine, especially if you’ve started a business from scratch yourself, it took up a LOT of her time. Sometimes, she worked 12+ hour days – and on top of all of that, she still wanted to keep writing novels!
She had just finished the first draft of her latest book, and she wasn’t willing to set her beloved fiction writing aside while she pursued her new endeavor.
Have you ever found yourself in a position like this? You’ve already got a full plate, and yet there’s more to be done?
Making Progress Every Day
In the book Small Steps to Health and Wealth, released by Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, it reads:
“Make Progress Every Day” was the tagline of a successful Verizon Communications branding campaign launched in 2002. In a press release about the campaign, Verizon stated that “making progress means helping its customers and communities move forward every day” through the use of its telecommunications products… [Most people] expect progress to “happen” instead of building progress steps into their daily activities. Making progress requires hard work and may make you uncomfortable at times… The secret to making progress is getting started… today.
The idea is that progress is an active and conscious choice made continually and repeatedly. Achievement and material accumulation may make you happy momentarily, but long-term contentment comes from daily discipline and commitment to the process of moving forward and making progress.
Here are two simple perspectives to keep in mind when you’re up against a time deficit and competing priorities.
1. Do what you can
Do what you can. You’ve probably heard it said a bunch of different ways:
- Just do it.
- Where attention goes, energy flows, and results show.
- Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
- Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
- We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
To understand this more clearly, let’s go back to the coaching/writing story…
My author/coach friend didn’t have time to edit her newly-finished novel during the day, so she decided to get creative.
While she was flossing and brushing her teeth, she sat in front of the computer and proofread her book. Whenever she came across a typo, she either pecked at the keyboard with whichever fingers weren’t tied together with floss, or typed with one hand while brushing her teeth with the other.
It took her months, but she got it done, and she was able to self-publish her book before Christmas that year.
Progress was slow, for sure, but what a gift it was for her to have that portion of the project DONE!
2. Just take one step
Just one step. Or maybe you’ve heard it said like this:
- A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
- How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
- Baby steps will take you all the way up Mount Everest if you just keep taking them.
- Left foot, right foot. Left foot, right foot.
- It is much harder to get lost on the big picture when we instill our focus on doing that one job that we need to do for today.
Let’s pick back up with my friend’s story…
Once she was done editing the book, she was able to finally floss with her full attention. Just kidding!
What came next was even more challenging: she had to find the time to write another novel, while preparing for a big product launch at the same time!
The idea of writing a book at that time seemed ridiculous.
This wasn’t a matter of simply reading while flossing anymore. Now, she had to sit down and actually type. And all the advice she’d read about forcing oneself to write 2,000 words a day simply didn’t fit with the other goals she had set for herself.
There was just too much on her plate: she had to create a webinar and course content, contact affiliates, serve her existing clients, master the prerequisite software… and somehow, still have enough time and brainpower left over to write.
Whew! Just writing all that out gives me a little anxiety. And that’s where I think we can all learn from what she did next.
She remembered another piece of advice she’d read:
“Write just one word. Don’t commit to writing 2,000 words, because then you’ll get overwhelmed and avoid writing at all. Instead, just start by writing one word, and see where it goes from there.”
Again, it was slow. Sometimes she actually did write over 2,000 words a day; on most days, it was under 500.
But almost every day, she sat down to write – and instead of becoming overwhelmed thinking about the entire book or scene, she just wrote down the next sentence that came to her head.
Then the next.
And the next.
And the next, until finally she ran out of time or words and had to set it aside.
In the end, she wrote over 52,000 words and completed the novel 2 weeks ahead of schedule.
It’s possible for you, too
If there’s a new course, project or career that you want to add to your life, you can use these principles to get started right now, even if you think you don’t have the time.
Decide what you want to do, and see where there’s room in your life to take the first step. Don’t worry about all the other steps; just take the first action, and trust that you’ll find a way to make room for the rest.
This Samsung campaign video sums it up nicely.
Here’s the truth… if you’re plate is already full, and you can’t possibly do any more, then “do what you can’t.”
If you still think you don’t have enough time, you can learn learn how to create more.
I know how to run a life coaching business in a way that frees up your life. I serve hundreds of clients every year, and I do it without burning myself out or robbing myself of the time I need to do the rest of the things I love.
You can start to create that in your own life, with the time and resources you currently have. I can show you how.
My team will get in touch with you so you can find out how the entire process works.
I can’t wait to hear from you.