07/01/2012 11:49 pm ET

The Story Of The Monkey Bars

When I was a little girl, I broke my first bone. I was at a friend's house, playing in her backyard and trying to see how many bars I could skip while making my way across the monkey bars. I could have started with one and challenged myself from there. Instead, I tried to skip three bars, fell and landed on my arm in a very wrong way.

This story seems significant now when I feel like my life is progressing too slowly. I’m not where I think I should be. I have always been the type who pushed myself. It was good until it threatened my well-being. Results couldn't come quickly enough and didn't reward according to my expectation. Sometimes, I didn't believe that I had to actually meet through B to get to C. Other times, I rushed my journey from A to B. That's how everything used to be for me in high school and basically all of my life until I started college, got my first lowest grades, took time off, received and then realized that I was just too stubborn and needed to slow down.

I was always setting goals for myself and then getting discouraged when I wasn’t reaching them quickly enough. Simple goals like finishing college in four years: for most people this is normal. I, however, needed to take time off in the middle of college because I wasn’t in the right place to make the right grades. I got discouraged and almost dropped out of school. It was with time and patience that I realized I had a different path from everyone else. I was still going to get my bachelors. I was just going to have an associates degree too. I was going to take time to do things like coach, teach, travel and spend time with my parents: things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. My path from a freshman to graduate wasn’t at the same speed as everyone else. I went from A to B, to C to B to C to D. And, only recently have I realized that that’s alright. The importance doesn’t weigh in how fast I traveled, it’s in what I gained along the way and that I still reached my destination.

I know now that it's absolutely necessary to take the small steps. You have to optimize opportunities, no matter how small. They say you have to climb the ladder to success, but now I am learning that sometimes there isn't even a ladder. You have to take your small opportunities (sometimes really, really tiny ones) and stack them up and build them into bigger opportunities. It's a sequential process. If you take the small steps, with time, you'll look back and be astounded at how far you've come. This way, you gain more experience and knowledge. Yes, it's hard work and will sometimes end up in failure, but that's how you get emotionally and mentally stronger. I don't blame the little girl me for aspiring to skip three monkey bars. I blame her for not trying one bar or two bars first. I blame her for not building the strength and muscle (in this case, physically) to fulfill the dream.

You can find more posts by Sahaj Kohli on her blog- A Quarter Life Crisis
Follow Sahaj on twitter: