Baby Steps Create Change
“The journey of 1,000 steps begins with the first step” –Lao Tzu
This quote by Lao Tzu is one of my favorites. The beginning is the most powerful part of any journey. Once you start, you can create momentum, but it is the beginning that sparks the energy. You just need to decide if you want the change more than you want your current reality. Then you just need to move. Move slowly but move.
I am a huge advocate of baby steps. Think about it for a moment: have you ever watched a baby go from crawling to walking? It’s amazing. Babies fall down and then get right back up and keep walking. When a babies learn to walk, they do so with focus and intention and soon, they become expert walkers.
It is the same thing with career transition. You must take baby steps first. You will likely fall down, but you will also get right back up and keep walking. It truly is not about how fast you walk, but that you just keep taking the steps.
So much of transition is living in the unknown, living with the not being certain of where you are going. The best contradiction to the unknown is baby steps. You just keep taking one baby step at a time and soon you have more clarity, soon you have moved into a new chapter.
The biggest part of creating change after you decide you want something new and different is taking the steps to do so. I often see folks set themselves up for failure when they try to take on too much at one time. It is best to slow things down and take on one thing at a time.
What is a baby step, you may be asking? Here is an example:
Let’s say you have the goal of doing four informational interviews this month. Here is how I would break it down into baby steps:
- Brainstorm people doing work you are curious about.
- Narrow down the list to the work that most intrigues you.
- Look at your schedule and know when you are available to meet.
- Draft your email.
- Email one person a day for a week asking to meet and suggest the times you have available.
- Create time to respond to the return emails.
You can do one step a day or break these baby steps out over a week or longer, whatever works best for you. The key is that you take on each step one at a time.
Change is possible, but it takes persistence and focus. It takes intention for each step, and it takes a never-give-up attitude. There is a saying in the 12-step world, “Don’t give up before the miracle.” Simply put, change is possible, magic can happen, but it takes persistence and trust in the mystery.
I have seen some clients make change in 6 months, some in 1 year, 2 years, or even 3 years. Each individual is different. My career transition took about 4 years. But if you just keep moving toward the change, it will happen, I promise.
What baby step can you take today?