I've made a lot of major changes in my life - and although I'd like to say that they happened easily and just required making a decision and taking a leap, the fact is they didn't. The idea of making these changes terrified me - even though I knew I had to make them be happy. I was in a classic catch-22.
I was stuck for a long time. Stuck in the city that stressed me. Stuck in a highly volatile industry where my job could from one week to the next no longer be required. Stuck living a life that felt like drudgery. I knew I needed to change, but the changes seemed so large, so overwhelming and so fundamental, I hardly knew where to begin. Then, by chance, I met someone who would help me completely change my life. She gave me an invaluable piece of advice and one of the greatest spiritual gifts I have ever been given. That advice was 'baby steps'.
Have you ever seen a baby learn how to walk? First, even standing up is a challenge, so babies sometime hold onto something. Next, being steady on two feet is hard to do. Then, come the tentative steps. Most often, there is some falling on the butt, sometimes some tears, but the baby always gets up on his or her shaky legs. Then, they awkwardly put one foot in front of the other. Slowly, slowly the first steps are taken.
Babies know they need to keep trying. Staying on his or her cute butt isn't an option. Even if there are tears, even if it takes days or weeks - progress happens and babies learn how to walk. If you've had children, you also know how quickly they learn how to run. This is true not only for babies, but for adults as well. To borrow one of my mother's favorite sayings, "Rome wasn't built in a day." It was built (and re-built) over centuries to become the extraordinary - and 'eternal' city it is today.
Our culture is full of overnight success stories. We like our instant gratification. We also like to believe it is possible for us to make immediate or overnight changes and while these do happen and have happened to me and to people I know, I also know that most often these changes were preceded by baby steps. We like to marvel at the child prodigy, but we often forgot that they also need to practice for many hours.
I have seen how effective the 'baby-step method' has been in my life. It took two full years of baby steps to finally lead me to my taking a giant leap to a new city that inspired me, to the work I had always wanted to do and to the life I had always dreamed about. You can make changes in your life - even if you feel stuck or overwhelmed or don't know what to do first. One small step is all you need - reach out to a friend, do some research, ask for help. If you feel ready to make a leap, do it! If you're not ready for a big jump, then baby step your way to change. I can guarantee they can take you farther than you imagine.