The next step.
Some days I feel like I will always be starting over; like all my hard work has gotten me no closer to what I’m reaching toward. On the good days, I use this frustration to spur me onward. On the more challenging days, I all but want to throw in the towel.
One of my lifelong practices is reminding myself that feelings aren’t facts. Just because it feels like I’m not moving forward, doesn’t mean I’m not. So I’ve learned to look for external markers to cross-reference with what’s going on for me internally.
When I do this, more often than not, I discover that I have in fact gotten somewhere. It might not be as far as I would like or moving in the direction I had anticipated but there is measurable change that’s taken place.
Noting this is important because it allows me to keep going. Feeling discouraged or hopeless has, in the past, either stopped me from moving forward or justified actions that sabotaged the progress I had made.
Now, when I am having a day where I feel like I will forever be caught in a cycle of starting over, I focus on the next step I need to take to get back on track. And not just any step but the smallest step.
One of the external cues I have noticed in the people around me who are doing their best work is that they persist. In addition to being clear about the people they want to serve and the value of their work—reflected in their pricing—they simply keep showing up.
Day in and day out, these people are listening and creating and helping and connecting. They keep going when they’re making big change happen and they keep going when it seems like nothing is shifting around them.
All any of us can ever do is take that next step. And over time, we will discover that change has happened and that we are, in fact, standing somewhere different now.
So, what’s the smallest next step you can take?