If you know me at all, or have seen any of my talks, then you know that my family and I sing our way through life. There is a song to go with just about everything, and when there isn’t one we know that fits, we make a new one up.
This morning, as I began to write this article, the voice of one of my favorite musicians popped into my head, singing a song I haven’t heard in a while. The song is called “One Small Step” from her album The Freedom Music Project. Great album, great voice. Check her out. Julie Silver’s “Step by Step,” from Reunion, popped in next. Gosh, that CD was the inspirational soundtrack I chose for over a year of my life. I sang with Julie as I drove kids to a new school, stomped on a treadmill, and took on some pretty scary material in my writing and in my life. (For those of you with inquiring minds who want to know, much of the material appears in Chapter 2 in the book I’m sending around for publication possibilities. Keep the faith.) No surprise that both women would come to sing to me this morning as I write about taking one small step.
You know how you build a wall? One brick at a time. You know how you write a book? One word at a time. You know how you raise a kid? One sleepless night at a time. You know how you love the people who drive you mad? One thought of gratitude at a time.
Goals without clear action steps often die a quiet, slightly tortured, death. If we were to take our goals and skip the step of breaking them down into teeny, tiny action items, those goals would remain just that: goals. Goals are great for party conversation. You are welcome to try out a few of my favorites: “Hey, I’m going to do a triathlon next year!” Or, “Did you know that I’m writing a book?” They are fun to talk about, but not something you go home and whip up while watching the news.
You know you are up to something worth doing if your goal intimidates you. If you know, without a doubt, that you are going to accomplish what you are saying you will do, then your goal is probably not challenging enough. You run the risk of getting too bored to bother. When you set a goal, you want to tremble in your boots. You want to be jazzed about the possibility while wondering, “How the heck am I going to pull THAT one off?”
Once you have the ‘trembling in your boots’ action going on, get to work. Find a coach, a mentor, or a really skilled friend and start breaking that goal down into teeny, tiny steps. Write the steps down, for goodness sakes. No wall was ever built by thinking about it. Share your plan with your coach. Build in a realistic time frame and strong accountability structures. Turn on your favorite music. Then take “one small step” toward making that dream come true.