One Step at a Time

“Aim for the sky, but move slowly, enjoying every step along the way.  It is all those little steps that make the journey complete.” – Chanda Kochhar

I was listening to a motivational video the other day, and I heard the speaker explain about the steps to achieve your goals.  They advised to not focus at the top of the staircase, but instead focus on each step.  Looking at all those steps to reach your goal(s) is daunting, especially if you set lofty goals or expectations.  Instead, focus on one step at a time.  This is so accurate and true and applies to any goal worth achieving.

For example, I was hiking Jackson’s Peak in Wyoming several years ago.  I’m a Florida flatlander, thus hiking a 12,000-foot mountain was a bit of a struggle, to say the least.  I was breathing heavily and cramping up 50 yards from the trailhead.  Truly pathetic.  However, I was determined to reach the summit, especially after being passed up by the same older couple who reached the peak twice that day.

I unknowingly used the “one step at a time” principle toward my goal.  I focused on each step.  One step after another was the goal.  I then would set small goals, like make it to the big rock or large tree.  I would then set another goal after I achieved the last one and so on.  Before long, I was making significant progress up the mountain.  I began enjoying the journey instead of focusing all of my attention on the end goal.

Several years later, when I was pursuing my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I applied the “one step at a time” principle toward my goals.  When I looked at my remaining courses and assignments, top of the staircase or mountain, I became overwhelmed.  The end achievement seemed so far out of reach; I was never going to reach those goals focusing on the top of the staircase or mountain.

I didn’t focus on all the steps ahead of me to achieve my goal.  In fact, I refused to look at the top of the staircase or mountain.  Instead, I started focusing on each step, or in this case each assignment.  I viewed each assignment as an individual step closer toward my goals.  I rarely looked at the remaining steps needed to achieve my goals.  I focused on the individual steps I could accomplish each day that would bring me closer to the summit.

I didn’t stress as much about the process and began enjoying the journey.  I wasn’t overwhelmed by the remaining steps because I refused to focus on them.  I broke down the process into small, daily achievable goals.  Each day was a win, a step closer toward my goals.  Each day my confidence grew stronger and stronger.  I was able to focus on doing my best on each assignment.

This sounds so simple, and it really is that simple.  Any goal can be achieved by breaking it down into smaller goals.  Each win builds your confidence.  We, humans, get so caught up in the actual achievement that we overlook the journey.  Enjoy the journey, that is where the lessons are revealed and, if aware, learned.  Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons; they are acquired through adversity, not while standing on the summit or top of the staircase.

Reaching the summit or top of the staircase is a gratifying achievement.  However, the journey to the top is where the real lessons are revealed, and fulfillment is achieved.  Pay attention.  Enjoy the trip.  The ride is far more relevant and rewarding than the actual achievement.  One step at a time is the goal, and keep your eyes open for those lessons…and bears too, just saying.



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