Giant Leaps or Small Steps?

stairsThe man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. – Chinese Proverb

Imagine this scene. You’re standing at the base of a flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs, you see a very large present, wrapped in bright, shiny paper with a massive bow on the top. A big tag with your name on it hangs from the bow. You’re about to start up the stairs, when someone stops you and says,

“The present is for you, but you can only have it if you can get from here to the top of the stairs in one step.”

Now, if you’re like most people, your reaction would probably be, “What? That’s not fair!”

And you would be right. Unless you have super powers, it’s very unlikely that anyone, not even the most highly-trained athlete, could get from the base of a flight of stairs to the top in one step (leap, jump, hop, whatever). To get to that gift, the one with your name on it, you have to climb the stairs, one step at a time until you’re at the top.

So why do we get discouraged, and sometimes even give up, if our dreams don’t come true overnight? If we don’t reach our goal right away? Achieving any goal is just like climbing those stairs. Rather than one big leap, it’s a series of steps, and if we will just approach it with that perspective from the beginning, we’re more likely to make progress, and less likely to fail.

Do you have a goal in mind? Then you’ve taken the first step. What next? Maybe you can take a class, or get some type of training, or put together a business plan, or look for partners or investors.

It’s all about breaking your plans down into steps. “This week I’ll read a book that will help me learn more about what I want to do. Tomorrow I’ll look into getting a website or find a potential business location. There’s a class next month that I can take to get some hands-on experience. Next week I’ll contact some suppliers to get an idea of their prices.” Step by step.

We’ve all heard the stories of the “overnight” successes—which usually weren’t really overnight when it really comes down to it—and those are the things we dream of, the things that give us hope and keep us pushing forward. But for most of us, our success is going to come via small steps, not giant leaps. And that’s okay.

If you don’t make it happen overnight, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just means you’re human, not a superhero. Be patient, take one step at a time, and you will reach your goal.

Now get to steppin’!

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