Posted: February 8, 2014
Famous Quotes I Love #1:
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
This reminds me of my own personal mantra that I’ve been saying to myself for the past 10 years or so, “One step forward, one foot in front of the other…” I use the mantra almost daily because I tend to get mentally bogged down with feelings of being overwhelmed. I see tasks before me that need to be done and if I look at the big picture, I start to feel negative and discouraged, and see the impossibility of getting it all done, not only on a daily basis, the everyday mundane chores and stuff nobody really wants to do except that we have to cause no one else is going to do it for us, but also those personal goals I’ve set for myself.
The goals might be personal, such as eating healthier, exercising more, or spending more time on building relationships or the goals might be professional, like building up my writing career, or searching for a job better suited to my skills and abilities. This can be daunting and if I look at the big picture, I honestly get scared of failure and back away. But I’ve learned to “just take the first step” and to add to that, take it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. Many of my steps are probably considered baby steps or not very productive when you look at the picture as a whole and, in some cases, I’ve been working on goals for years and didn’t get very far to some standards, but when I look back, I see progress has been made and I can see where the hand of God led me to that point or to that end.
For example, quitting smoking was a goal of mine for at least 10 years before the end result. My first steps (which I took one at a time) from the beginning were to a) realize I had an addiction and that it had been going on for over thirty years; b) realize how much that addiction was costing me in money and my personal health; c) realize how that addiction was affecting my daughters and setting the wrong example; d) choosing various stop smoking methods to complete this goal; e) accepting that the failures I had along the way didn’t mean that I had to give up the goal; f) learning to pray and meditate on this specific goal; g) knowing that one day, when the time was right, that the praying to God and the daily meditation would be the major factor (the God-factor) in helping me to achieve that goal; h) deciding one day that it was time and relying on my faith in God to pull me through; and i) finally reaching the top of the staircase and being able to thank God that His hand pulled me through where many attempts in the past did not work, because I didn’t ask Him for help. While the process of quitting smoking from beginning to end took over ten years, the important thing is that I took the first step and one step at a time from there forward and thanks be to God achieved this very important goal.
A professional goal I have is to be a writer. I have taken steps, one step at a time, to work toward the day when I can say, “I am a writer,” without batting an eye and with the knowledge that I can make a living at my God given craft. I’ve been working on this goal for nearly forty years that I can remember. It started in high school in creative writing class, where my teacher, Mrs. Taylor, encouraged me to pursue a career in writing. While I didn’t specifically make that a goal at the time, because at that point in my life, I was not sure what I wanted to do with it and was making lots of bad decisions, in the back of my mind and in the recesses of my heart, this desire has always been there. So, the steps were to develop a love of journaling, writing short stories (even though most of mine are crap and not worth sharing…) and poetry. This was the beginning. Currently, I can say that I am a published writer, I can’t yet say, I can make a living, but I’m taking steps toward that goal. My website is one step in the goal to reach the top of the staircase. Reading my Writers Digests and learning the craft of writing is another step. Searching out and submitting my writings to publishers and editors are more of the rungs on the staircase that I’m slowly mastering. I have completed a little novel, that has a beginning, middle and end, and step and step, I’m editing it and am hopeful one day, it will do well as an Amazon Kindle Short. Another goal I’ve set for myself is to attend a writing conference and this one seems frightening to me, but I know that if I keep praying and believing, one day I’ll have the courage to take this step. And in my mind, I do say “I am a writer.” I say it every day. I look forward to the day when I reach the top of the staircase and someone asks me, “What do you do?” and I can boldly declare, “I am a writer!”
In the meantime, I have a job I get paid to do in an office. I find it useful for getting thru a boring day or a boring set of tasks to keep telling myself, “one step at a time, one foot in front of the other…” This works, because if I look at the whole picture, I can easily become disheartened and feel stuck and unproductive and not on task. I tell myself that the work I am doing is important and that it enables me to work on my “real” passion, to become a writer. I tell myself, it is just the first step in a long set of steps to where I am going. Then I can love my job and love what I am doing, because I know it is not permanent. And the course of that staircase can and will change as I change and grow. I don’t have to see to the top and I don’t have to make any final decisions. It’s all in the steps.