A great dream or goal can often be dead in the water before it begins if we let our doubts and fears get the best of us. Why is it so difficult to quiet our negative mind? We can try everything from affirmations to meditation, but it’s usually a lot of effort to talk ourselves into going after our dreams.
It’s usually the first step that takes the longest to talk ourselves into and even if it’s small, it feels like a mountain. The problem is that when we finally do it, we then second guess ourselves again and maybe even pull back even more. We may even try to reassure ourselves that we can just take baby steps for a while and eventually we’ll get to where we want to go.
Baby steps are a great notion because they make us feel safe. We believe that we can control the change and manage how it happens gradually – and we’re comfortable with that.
But if we imagine a baby’s first steps, they are definitely wobbly and insecure and can’t serve us for the whole journey. Baby steps are not how to get where you want to go – literally.
The trick is that we have to move past the uncomfortable part and gain momentum through bigger action. Because if we keep taking such small steps, we’ll stay in our comfort zone and make no impact.
If you’re only taking baby steps, you’re not putting momentum behind your goals and you’re really just kidding yourself that slower and smaller is the way to go. If tricking yourself into thinking that the first step is no big deal, just so you can get over the initial fear, then, by all means, do that! Do whatever works for you to get out the door and on your way. But, eventually, you have to face the facts, grow up, and take some big boy steps to make things really happen.
How to tell if you are taking Baby Steps:
You look for baby steps.
Even though you know there is some big action you could take, you try and break it down into microscopic points so you continue to progress ‘comfortably’. Do you ever think, “Well I could do X but Y could happen. I think I’ll just do something safe and see what happens”? This is baby step fever. This is the zone where you’re ignoring the action that needs to be taken. You know very well it’s time to pull on your big boy or big girl pants and do what needs to be done.
You’ve been ‘working at it’ for over a year.
Of course there’s no set timeline, but a year is a good time to take a look at what’s working and what is not. If it’s a business endeavor and you have yet to make your first dollar, it could be time to make a change or take the bigger leaps you know you need to take but have been avoiding.
You tell people you’re doing bigger things than you are.
Sure you have to think big, but wouldn’t it feel great if you were actually where you claim to be? Put your money where your mouth is. And if you’re still scared, remember that babies put stuff in their mouths all the time!
What To Do if Your Steps are Babies
Make a Deal
Be honest with yourself and ask how many small moves you’ve taken lately and match it to one substantial move that really frightens you. You may find that it’s all a numbers game and you respond well to a ratio approach: four small steps to one ‘big man move’. For example, when I was first starting to freelance, I sent out letters of introduction to small companies that I thought were my target market. After sending out more than thirty, I sucked it up and sent one that I thought was way out of my league. I wish I could tell you that it landed me the contract of my life – it didn’t. But at least I went for it and I felt like I was really making progress, and not going after what I wanted half-assedly.
Move Towards Happiness
It seems too obvious to just say, “take bigger risks.” How about instead of thinking of your next move as moving out of your comfort zone, think of it as moving towards your happiness. Isn’t that where you think you’ll be more comfortable in the end anyway?
I hope this gets us all going this week and making big progress. Please leave comments and share what you are doing!