When your dreams are huge (as the best dreams are), it can be hard to clearly see the path you need to follow to reach them.
They might seem far away and out of reach, like a mountain peak from which you are separated by a deep and twisting valley. You know exactly where you are going and you know you need to navigate through the valley in order to get there.
It’s easy to feel on top of our plans when the sky is clear and we are enjoying a birds eye view of the landscape before us. “Hey, I’ll just head down that slope, bear left at the big boulder, and pop out of the woods right at the river’s narrowest point. Easy.”
But life, like long journeys, is full of switchbacks and unexpected obstacles: swamps, cliffs and rivers to cross that you didn’t even know existed when you first set out. Even if you have a pretty good sense of the direction you need to go in, many of the steps along the way will be unclear, especially if you are venturing into territory that’s new to you. We can prepare for our journeys, but we can’t anticipate every obstacle in advance. And that’s a good thing! If we knew the perils that await us along the way, we might never put our boots on.
So how do we keep moving in the right direction when we’re lost in the fog and the mountaintop is hard to keep in sight? How do we turn the detours into shortcuts?
This is how: You tune into your inner GPS and just do the next right thing. And then the next.
When you realize your map is missing a section, forget about fretting over the master plan. Look down at your feet and focus right there: the very next step. Make the call you’ve been putting off. Finish writing that proposal. Book that class. Knock on that door. Keep moving forward.
Baby steps will get you up the mountain – as long as you keep taking them.