Why taking small steps is so important.

posted in: Articles | 10

omniwonder - Rikky D. T. Maas, small steps

I recently had a delightful conversation about taking small steps with Megan Karlen, who got me to contemplate her words to the point where I just had to write it down. As we were discussing business strategies and ways to keep oneself sane and zen, she told me of a trip to the mountains she’d recently taken. Encouraged by others to come along, she resistantly climbed the steady slope, cursing the thin air and her protesting muscles. Struggling to keep up, but refusing to let this whole trip be a disaster, she knew she had to figure out a way to enjoy the hike.

As she took a step, she told herself ‘great!’. She took another step and told herself ‘another great step!’. She took another step and said again ‘I just took a really great step, that’s awesome!’. Each and every step, she told herself how well she did, how beautifully she walked, how courageously she stepped over the stones, and how amazingly she was climbing this mountain. Needless to say, she began to enjoy herself thoroughly!

 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. – Lao Tzu

 

This endearing story immediately reminded me of some beautiful advice Jason Kotecki from Escape Adulthood recently gave me: “Just keep taking small steps with your blog and everything else. It’s easy to want to run ahead and compare ourselves with where we think we “should” be. Believe me, after 15 years, those small steps really add up!”

As I’m progressing with omniwonder, it is easy to lose myself in what I think I ought to be. I excitingly compare myself with established writers and life coaches, whether they’re in the category Mother Theresa or awesomely traveling the world while working remotely. I want to do what they do, so that’s what I compare myself with.

I’ve always been very passionate and ambitious, and I have big plans with omniwonder. I want to write about the beauty of curiosity, the pursuit of happiness, and the philosophy behind how I live my life. I want to inspire people to be more curious again. The importance of this curiosity is twofold: it’s beneficial for yourself, your personal growth and your inner happiness, by being the force behind your explorations and the steps you take towards your dreams. On the other hand, curiosity is a necessity if we want to be kinder people. There is too much narrow-mindedness, bigotry, hatred, and violence, and being curious about others and the world is the first step towards understanding, acceptance, and peace.

Devout as this all sounds, I also want to make money with that, for reasons varying from wanting to provide for my husband and longing to be able to travel often, to wishing to be able to buy food for every homeless person I see, and having this secret dream of showing up at my parent’s doorstep with a bottle of Champagne one day and go ‘sup guys, you can retire now’. In other words; lots of big plans and big dreams.

Big dreams, however, require small steps. Nothing utterly important is ever built overnight.

 

Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still. – Chinese proverb

 

A great way to remind yourself of enjoying those small steps when you’re working towards your dreams, is by keeping a progress log. This has been making a huge difference in how much I appreciate my own work. Every time I wonder why I’m not Tim Ferriss yet, I look at my progress log and realize that I’ve been doing a lot of meaningful things in the last weeks. Looking at that list, I realize that I’ve actually achieved so much already! Two months ago, I didn’t even have a blog yet. Now, I’m overwhelmed by emails and comments from readers who tell me about how much my work inspires them. I’m officially taking clients as a life coach, my extensive guide on self-education is doing great, and I’m grateful to be a contributor to InterGifted.

 

omniwonder - small steps

 

Whatever your dream is, forget about where you want to end up for a second. Take a look at the first possible steps. What action can you take today that brings you a little closer to your goal? It can be as small as ‘wrote ideas down’, or ‘contemplated what my perfect day looks like’.

Take a small step today, enjoy it, appreciate yourself for doing so, and you’ll be on top of the mountain in no time.

Have you taking any steps towards a dream lately? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a reply below!

10 Responses

  1. alclunnie
    | Reply

    It’s actually ridiculous how much I agree with basically everything you’ve ever written, Rikky! I’ve been harping on about this to a colleague of mine for days- the power of incremental improvement. If you improve by just 1% every single day, in 70 days you will be TWICE as good. That’s powerful stuff right there! And the idea of keeping a progress log is great!

  2. Michael Knouse
    | Reply

    Oh boy, you touch on so much goodness here, Rikky. I always say that any great endeavor is accomplished by a series of small wins. So, naturally, I just love your perspective on taking small steps. It’s so easy to get caught up in the comparison game and wondering why things aren’t bigger, better, making more waves, etc. But the truth is that everything takes time, consistent action, and patience.

    I just published my 100th podcast episode this week and it’s hard for me to believe it happened. It all started with the first one, and then another, and another. It’s so true that the small steps have a cumulative effect after awhile.

    Thanks for this important reminder that taking small steps is the key to achieving any worthwhile outcome. So good!

  3. Grace
    | Reply

    Aw, this was so encouraging. Thank you! It’s so true that big goals are achieved through a million little steps. Often when I look back on my day I think of how I should’ve or could’ve done more. I think it’ll really improve my mindset if I looked back with appreciation and gratitude for what I did accomplish.

  4. Dee
    | Reply

    A wonderful reminder that big things don’t happen overnight, small steps all add up to huge leaps over a period of time. I loved this Rikki, a great reminder to NOT give up and every challenge overcome is a step forward, no matter how small!

  5. Kendra
    | Reply

    Beautiful post Rikky! The small steps is something I have to keep reminding myself of. I too look at the big players and wonder why I’m not there yet. But I’m not because I have not taken enough of those small steps. Thank you for this reminder!

  6. Megan
    | Reply

    Such a beautiful post Rickky and I’m delighted that you used my story! You are doing wonderful things and building a foundation that will sustain all your dreams. Congratulations ! And I look forward to reading more from you !

  7. Jason Kotecki
    | Reply

    Great post! The little things don’t seem like much at first, but they lay the foundation for big things later!

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