Ten small steps to living a good life

There’s this thing you’ve been avoiding…

That thing you think of when you wake up in the morning.

The thing you’ve been making excuses for so that you never have to come face to face with it.

But, it eats away at you.

Breathing down your neck.

Like that sleeping dragon, Smaug.

Out there; a distant threat.

Like an infected splinter in your side.

The more you avoid it, the more the virus spreads, polluting your mind and your soul.

. . .

You need to make your move.

It’s time for you to be strong. It’s time to do something about it.

Figure out that thing that is getting at you.

There are likely many things, but there is that one thing that gnaws at you more aggressively than the rest.

It is something with which you are not happy. You already have an inkling of the solution.

You’re likely avoiding it out of fear — fear of being rejected, or looking stupid, or re-opening those wounds.

But you know it is vital for you, your growth, your confidence.

You know that by addressing it, your life will turn from the greyscale that it is, to the technicolour you know it could be.

You might be terrible at going out and promoting your work, or networking because you fear the rejection. You fear the discomfort and the anxiety. You fear being revealed as a fraud.

Layers of excuses fall between making the change you need, and you doing something about it.

Often the fact that you “don’t have the time” bubbles up as the excuse to end all excuses.

When you find yourself making the excuse: “I don’t have the time,” it’s almost never because you don’t have time.

It’s because we are scared.

But fear needn’t have the final word on the issue.

If it does, you need to be getting angry, my friend.

Fear should never have the last word.

You have the power to turn fear into the greatest opportunity of your life.

What is that thing you need to address?

You might need to meditate on it for a while. Spend some time writing out what it could be, until it’s clear to you. Usually, it is, because you can’t shake it off.

Call it out. Right now.

Accept you need to make a change. We all have something.

Put it into precise words.

Then, picture this:

You are a ‘life coach.’ Someone you mentor just told you they had this same problem.

Your task is to come up with a first, small step they need to make to tackle that problem.

What is that step?

You might need to crank out a list of ideas.

If they needed to network with more people at events to land more clients, but they are shit scared of talking to new people, what would be the first step?

You might tell them to go to an event and talk to people, despite the fear.

What would that step look like if it was a little smaller, easier?

Go and talk to a stranger at the mall, in the supermarket, or at a conference. Just one person.

What would an even smaller step look like?

Say a quick hello to someone in the street, or behind the counter at Starbucks.

Even smaller?

Make eye-contact with someone in the street and hold it until the other person looks away.

Smile at someone when you walk past them.

Write them an email.

Now turn it to you.

Figure out which step you could take, which would be a push; a little out of your comfort zone; a stretch — something you could do without having heart palpitations.

Maybe that starts with the absolute tiniest step on your list. There’s nothing wrong with that. You have to start somewhere.

Now you are your own coach.

Make an agreement with yourself to do that thing at least once, every day for the next ten days* in a row.

*Ten steps. How’s that for clickbait ;).

Mark that thing down as a big X on your calendar. No matter how small.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ~ Lao Tzu

At the end of ten days, you’re an ‘expert’ at that one small thing. Perhaps, if you’re not entirely comfortable with it yet, you need to do another ten.

But if you feel better about it, you can move to the next phase. What’s the next tiny step up?

Do that thing at least once for the next ten days.

Eventually, you are at the conference, and you are having a conversation with a real, live person.

This is how you build momentum. This is a process.

You can apply this to many of your hold ups.

It will take time. There may be fallbacks, but you will feel colour returning with each small step.

Because you are dealing with your most challenging issue at any given time, you’re actually making a huge difference.

By taking the smallest step of something big for you, you are making a very significant change indeed.

The journey begins.

Start today.

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