In the last post about change, I discussed how change happens one step at a time. That one step done over and over impacts your life.. But what step do you take? I’ll answer that with another question: What do you believe?
I recently held an afternoon workshop on leading from your WHY. In one segment of the workshop I addressed how our everyday behavior is based on what we believe. We are on autopilot for most of our day. This is not a bad thing, but it is important to address because what we believe sets the standard of our autopilot. (I wrote about this idea in the post, “Default”.) For real change we will have to connect a few dots. Those dots can get deep and complex pretty quickly. So, I will try to delve into this without writing a book…
First, you have to be honest about the change you want and what you believe. This process takes time and reflection. I recommend taking time to write out your thoughts and share your insights with a close friend. This helps you be accountable for the step you choose to take, which we will discuss in a minute. Back to the process, you need to evaluate your beliefs and be honest about living up to those beliefs. This is hard. Don’t rush the process, though. When you have a clear picture of your core values, you will then be able to see what the next step is.
Second, you have to have the courage to step in the direction of your beliefs. This is the hardest thing to do in the world, (which is why it is good to have someone who will help you along the way). Too many times, external factors influence our everyday life, and we let those factors determine our steps. There are too many reasons for that to work through in a blog post, but some of the main reasons are fear, acceptance, and emotional pain, especially from the past. We all have personal hurdles that will take courage to overcome. These factors sit between what we believe and how we live our everyday life. It will take courage to step in the right direction.
Change is important.
Change is growth.
Changes takes steps, everyday.
A single step may not seem to do much until you notice, that after time, you have become the person you have always known you could be. All because you took that first step, everyday.
I arrived at work just before 7 o’clock. The maintenance crew is sweeping the snow from the parking lot, but the section I usually park in is untouched. It is an unblemished field of white. I feel guilty pulling into, what I hope is, my parking spot. I have no idea if I am between the yellow lines. I know I am close because I recognize the shape of the bush that I park by.
I collect my computer, coffee cup, and my Vikings Tervis cup. The air is cold. It quickly hurts my nostrils. My breath a heavy cloud in front of me. I watch as maintenance zooms around the parking lot in their little tractors, sweeping away the snow. I head to my office, snow lightly crunching under my feet as I traverse across the white stillness. My mind heavy with life and work. On an impulse I turn to take a picture of my steps for my 365 project.
As I put my phone back into my pocket I think about how I am the first person to walk on this snow this morning. Then how in a few minutes the maintenance guys will clear away my steps. How more cars will settler in their spots for the day, and when I walk back to my car my steps will be gone. If it warms up enough, there will only be slush left on the concrete.
But isn’t that life? Isn’t this a metaphor for every morning of our lives? Each day we are given the opportunity to make our mark on the day. Yes, life, and other people, will impact our day. Our lives are all connected, we can not or should not shy away from that fact. And yes, some days it feels like we have to find our way back to the car by jumping puddles or stomping off slush from our shoes before we go home.
But that is the point. Our lives are worth making those steps each day. Even knowing that the prints may be gone by the end of the day because we know we took them. My hands (or feet) will never be saved in concrete. I know my life is meant to walk in snow, that my prints are only seen by me. And that is OK because I made them, crooked left step and all.
There are moments.
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There are moments that are sudden.
There are moments that leave us wondering what to do next.
There are moments that challenge everything about you. And you know that the next step will change everything. But that step is hard to take.
Do you step forward?
Do you step to the right or the left?
You can even turn around and step in a totally different direction.
But you can’t stand still. No matter how crushing the moment is. No matter how you want to scream at the top of your lunges, “What now?”
A step has to be made. And that is how you build strength. How your character is forged. Stay on your feet and take the next step.