Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Road To Change: Take The First Step

Many people get stuck in life because they don’t see how the first small steps will get them to where they truly want to go. They know what their dreams are; they just see those dreams as too big. In fact, one of the major obstacles in their journey is that the big picture can seem a bit too overwhelming --- a major cause of stress in life. While it's important to keep your eye on the big picture, it's the little things that come before it that are the most important.

I have a friend who, while in high school, loved nothing more than dancing. She took ballet, jazz, tap --- anything that involved moving her legs in complicated ways. She did not want to be a ballerina, but she knew she loved dancing. For her, dancing was stress relief, a chance to replenish her energy from tedious things like schoolwork. What she was doing was taking that first step, without yet even planning the big picture. But then it happened: Broadway called her. Her father took her to a Broadway musical on a vacation to New York City, and she instantly had her goal.

When you set out to climb a mountain (or even a small hill), you know your destination: the top, or some other chosen spot upward of where you currently are. You're not there yet, but you know where you're going and that's an important factor. You collect all your gear (hiking shoes, shorts, water, snacks, etc.) and you head up the trail. You start with that first step. You're not at the top yet, but you know, without a doubt, that you will get to the top (or at least that you are 100% committed to that goal).

That first step is where so many get tripped up, stop, and turn back! The stress and strain of believing they can't get to the top is usually what stops them before they're really begun. If they could view all their endeavors as this mountain metaphor, it might be easier to see their misstep. The first step is not as lofty as the last step when the summit is conquered, but it is the most important step if not taking it means that you never get to the top.

So what happened to my friend? She made the chorus line in a Broadway show. A few months later, the lead female performer broke her ankle. My friend was the second understudy for the lead, but since the first understudy forgot all her lines when asked to perform, my friend got the job! She went on to movies, fame and fortune. And she still loves to dance.

So take that first step. Your circumstances in life won’t change until you do.

Kim Markison for

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