We all have lofty ideas of “the next best thing”. I want to be the next Facebook. I want to direct like Spielberg. My idea is better than Groupon. We are all still looking for that get rich quick scheme that is going to take us to the top. And although the idea that we have might have some merit, sometimes keeping your eyes focused on something so big is detrimental to us actually getting there. Sometimes in order to reach these huge goals, we don’t need a big break, but a small step.
A chef doesn’t start off wanting to own restaurants all over the world, he wants to make one dish the best dish he’s ever made. A teacher doesn’t think about the number of students that he will educate in his lifetime, but focuses on giving the best education to the students in his class today. A doctor doesn’t start off focusing on the cure for cancer, she is focused on one cell and getting that one cell to react to her treatment.
Actor Will Smith talked about a project that his dad gave to him and his brother when they were little; to build a wall. The boys said it would take forever, but they started anyway. He said, “… But you aren’t focused on the wall everyday, you are focused on laying one brick perfectly, one day at a time. And eventually, you’ll have a wall.”
It’s ok to think big and have huge goals, I actually encourage that. But when you are starting out on a new goal, to ensure that you maintain all the way through to your destination, it helps to start small. A single step.
“If you want to be a Rockstar, the first step is learn how to rock.”
Sometime life gets so complicated and so overwhelming that it’s hard to see which way is up. You have responsibilities with the kids, with the family, with work, with 101 other things. Here is a quick tip that I use anytime I’m feeling overwhelmed.
Take out a pad and paper or any word processing program and start writing down everything that has your attention and why. Start with the biggest thing on your mind and work down. It doesn’t have to be a task that you have to accomplish, it could just be a feeling or a person you are dealing with, just put it down so that it covers the thought that is in your mind. And be sure to write down “why” this thing has your attention. Continue to list things until everything that is on your mind is written down. Once you are done with everything that concerns you, ask yourself “is that it?”. Put down anything else that comes to mind.
The purpose of a mind sweep is to give you a tangible list of things to tackle. I usually do this when I’m worrying about things or when I feel, “there are just too many things going on”. I usually find out after writing there are just a few things going on that I’ve blown out of proportion. Or after I’ve written the list, I find that there are things that are outside my control so why worry about them in the first place.
This list is a way to mentally check-in with yourself to see how you are doing and make sure you are on track. Now that you have a list, you could plan, prioritize, and take action on those things and make your worries disappear.
The opposite of fear is not courage, it’s action.