If you cannot fly, drive; if you cannot drive, run; if you cannot run, walk; if you cannot walk, crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I would add to this that if you can’t crawl, lean forward. If you can’t lean, then at least look in the direction you want to go. Keep moving forward!
If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. ~Thomas Jefferson
Occasionally, you are going to feel uncomfortable as you work toward your dreams. There will be days when you feel anxious and even afraid. But you must not let that stop you. It’s normal to feel nervous and unsure. Accept that you’ll feel this way from time-to-time. And when you do, go slower and break the steps into small pieces and little parts. Keep breaking them down until you get to the little tidbits that are comfortable and easy to do. Then do them!
Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.~Charles F. Kettering
You never know what’s around the corner. You never know what piece of information you’ll pick up, what skill you’ll learn, or what person you meet that’s at the next step. So, keep going! The break you need may be just around the corner!
Your homework today is to read through the quotes. Choose the one—or ones—that resonate with you. Then, first thing in the morning, stand tall in front of your mirror with your shoulders back and a big smile on your face. Look at yourself and say the quotes you like, using as much enthusiasm as you can.
Take the quotes with you and refer to them during the day; repeat them as often as you can. Remember to be enthusiastic! Use the energy they generate to help you take the next step. Break it into small specks—as small as you need. Then do them!
The only way we can craft our soul-prospering life is through being true to ourselves. Sure we may achieve great things by climbing the corporate ladder or by pursuing a profession that someone else chose for us but, in spite of all the success, we’ll still feel hollow inside. Even with financial success, material possessions, and the recognition of the world, we’ll feel that something is missing.
Stay true to yourself. Pursue your dreams, the whisperings of your heart and soul. Follow the Still Small Voice within. You may still achieve financial success and fame as well, but that won’t be where your focus is. You’ll be wrapped up in living your purpose, making a difference, and creating meaning in the lives of others.
I was clicking around the Internet and came across this poem. I liked it very much because it explains that letting go doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve given up or thrown in the towel. Letting go can mean that you’re allowing a loved one to learn by reaping the consequences of their actions–or inactions. Letting go can mean that you realize it isn’t your place to always solve everyone else’s problems.
Here’s the poem to read for yourself:
Letting Go by Author Unknown
To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring; It means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off… It’s the realization that I can’t control another…
To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try and change or blame another, I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective, It is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone, but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.
I like this poem because it’s reminiscent of the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr. In this poem, Letting Go, as with Niebuhr’s poem, is filled with common sense wisdom that is deeply profound as it is simple.
Let me know what you think of this poem. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!
This post was published earlier this year on 1/27/17 and it continues to be an excellent reminder that it’s the journey and not the destination that that matters. It’s what we learn, who we meet, the new things we see, and the interesting things that we discover. And it’s how all of this enriches us and our life and how we then share this with others.
This poem also reminds us that riches and influence can be useful tools in crafting a soul-prospering life, but they aren’t what’s truly important. It’s the comforting silence as well as the laughter shared with dear friends and loved ones; playing with your kids; making a difference in someone’s life. These achievements are the true successes in life.
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
I’d Rather Be a Failure by Edgar A. Guest
I came across this poem and I thought you might like it, too.
I’d Rather Be a Failure by Edgar A. Guest
I’d rather be a failure than the man who’s never tried;
I’d rather seek the mountain-top than always stand aside.
Oh, let me hold some lofty dream and make my desperate fight,
And though I fail I still shall know I tried to serve the right.
The idlers line the ways of life and they are quick to sneer;
They note the failing strength of man and greet it with a jeer;
But there is something deep inside which scoffers fail to view—
They never see the glorious deed the failure tried to do.
Some men there are who never leave the city’s well-worn streets;
They never know the dangers grim the bold adventurer meets;
They never seek a better way nor serve a nobler plan;
They never risk with failure to advance the cause of man.
Oh, better ’tis to fail and fall in sorrow and despair,
Than stand where all is safe and sure and never face a care;
Yes, stamp me with the failure’s brand and let men sneer at me,
For though I’ve failed, the Lord shall know the man I tried to be.
Mr. Rogers, in his unassuming and unaffected way, was a very powerful man. His kind, gentle, profound wisdom is as relevant and desperately needed.
We tell ourselves that we don’t have the time to sit in silence, but really it’s the other way around: we don’t have time NOT to sit in silence. Take time today to sit in silence, even if for just five minutes. Promise yourself that you’ll do it every day, then follow through!
Join me in following Mr. Rogers’ advice today and sit quietly, even if for only a few moments. It’ll help you press the reset button on your day and your week and help you set yourself up for a good finish to the week.
Is your mind racing, though, and you can’t figure out what to contemplate? Here are a few quotes from Mr. Rogers that can help:
There’s a special place for you. You have a place that no one else has; there is only one like you. ~Mr. Rogers
Would you be mine, could you be mine, won’t you be my neighbor? Won’t you please, won’t you please…please, won’t you be my neighbor?~Mr. Rogers
You always make each day such a special day. You know how–by just your being you! ~Mr. Rogers
I like you, right now, just the way you are! ~Mr. Rogers
I, too, like you just the way you are!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Just like you, I’ve been paralyzed with fear–unable to move forward, unable to move backward or to the side; plain old unable to move. Period.
I knew I had to move forward, though. To stay stuck would have meant death, not physical death, but the price of giving in to fear and terror is that a little piece of your essence must die. And the price of staying stuck in fear and terror is that little pieces of your essence, your spirit, are continually, imperceptibly, chipped away from you. At first, you don’t really notice. But then one day you awake to find that you are so incredibly far off the mark of who you thought you’d be. And you wonder if it’s too late to become who you know you could have been….
That is the true horror.
Better to face the terror and fear, better to figure out a way to do something about it, than to let it slowly kill you.
At the end of this post, I’ll share with you four additional tips of how to take the next step when you are terrified.
TAKING ACTION: WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE PARALYZED WITH FEAR
When you’re in a state of anxiety, worry, fear, panic, or terror, it’s difficult to think straight and it’s even more difficult to take any action. Our natural tendency is to want to hide or to run in the opposite direction.
But hiding or running “for the hills” will not help. It may feel good for a little while but the issue is still there, lurking, waiting to pounce the moment you peep out of where you ducked for cover.
Yesterday we talked about Life’s Ambushes and how they can terrorize us. We learned that the best thing to do in that case is to take action. (click here to be taken to that post).
But if you’re scared stiff, how the heck are you supposed to move, much less take action?!
By breaking the actions into steps and breaking those into small parts and little pieces. Then break those into tidbits; break those into jots…. Keep breaking things down into smaller and smaller increments until you get to the tiny specks that you are confident that you can do–even if those specks are as small as atoms or even electrons! Then do them–cross them off your To Do list one by one.
You might be thinking: Easy for you to say but what does that look like, exactly?
Okay, let’s say you need a new job. You easily and quickly wrote up an excellent resume, you emailed and called all your contacts, and you looked online at different job postings. The last pro-active thing on your list is to call an employment agency to speak with a recruiter. But let’s say that you had a very bad experience previously so now just the thought of calling the agency creates such distress in you that you are literally trembling.
Break down the task of making the phone call into itsy-bitsy fragments of steps.
For instance, one day you put it on your To Do list to just think in general about phones. Perhaps you find it interesting that they were invented in the late 1800’s. You may find it fascinating thinking about the amazing changes telephone technology has gone through in the 139 years of its existence.
That’s all you have to do for the day. You can cross it off your To Do list! Make sure you congratulate yourself–pat yourself on the back for a job well done! Then reward yourself: listen to your favorite music for a half hour, read for 15 minutes, watch an episode of your favorite TV program, spend a half hour with your favorite hobby.
The next day you write down that you want to think of the phones you’ve had over the years: the clunky wired ones of your childhood all the way to the sleek wrist models that recently came to market.
Once you do this, then you’re done for the day. You don’t have to think about phones or phone calls to the recruiter at all! Again, cross it off your list and then celebrate your victory!
The following day, think about your current phone, it’s color and style. Remember the feel of it–its shape and its weight in your hand. Maybe, at this point, you can push yourself a little bit and think about the last conversation you had using it, or when you talked to your friend or loved one on the phone.
When that’s done, you can cross it off the list and celebrate. You did it!
Over the next few days you take the next few bits of steps: You’ll look at the phone; another day you’ll touch the phone; after that you’ll pick up the phone and listen to the dial tone. After each task finished, you’ll cross it off your list and celebrate.
Notice that each day you have something to cross off your To Do list–this is evidence that you are making progress which builds confidence and momentum. Notice, too, that you celebrate each day what you did that day. This shows your mind that facing your fear and taking small bits of action results in making progress and that there’s a reward for dealing with scary stuff and that reward feels good and makes you happy.
This conditions you to focus on successful outcomes!
Gradually you’ll progress to dialing the agency’s phone number and actually speaking to a recruiter.
While this example may seem silly and extreme, the principles apply to how to break down your action steps into teensy-tiny specks.
Sometimes, in order to conquer fear so you can move forward, the actions you take must be itsy-bitsy. If this is how small you have to break them down in order to move forward, it does not make you a weakling or incompetent, incapable, or silly.
Quite the contrary.
It makes you very, very brave because instead of shaking uncontrollably and staying frozen to the spot with fear, you are finding a way to move forward–in spite of your shaking and in spite of the terror.
That makes you brave.
That makes you courageous.
That makes you a hero!
Your homework is to take the next step. With your head held high, break that step into smaller and smaller pieces until you get to the tiny dots that you know you can easily accomplish. Then do them!
Then look in the mirror and see what a true hero looks like!
You can do it!
I’m so very proud of you!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
When you’re going through this process of moving inspite of your paralyzing fear, it helps to have someone to talk to. This person can be a loved one, trusted friend, or trained professional. I urge you to reach out to others because it helps you see the truth that you are not alone in feeling terrified.
Also, devise a playlist for yourself. Youtube has a wide variety of uplifting music–ranging from sacred songs to pop music and everything in between–as well as motivational and inspirational messages. Check out Librivox, too (librivox.org). It’s a great resource for audios of books that are in the public domain.
Make sure you get your rest! Research is showing that 7 – 9 hours of sleep is required for optimal performance. When you’re tired, your emotions are ragged and you’re more apt to react poorly to little annoyances that normally would have rolled right off you. Also, when you’re fatigued, you don’t do your best thinking and you can forget about being creative or inventive–skills that are needed when you’re working your way through problems.
Make sure you eat nutritious food! Do NOT reach for the bag of chips, gallon of ice cream, package of cookies, and the soda–or alcohol–to wash it all down. And, step away from the fast food! J Add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet, as well as other nutritious foods. Your body needs good fuel to do its best thinking and its best work. It’s your responsibility to give good stuff to your body!
Take the next itty bitty tiny step toward your soul-prospering life. You can do it, I believe in you!
I’m always on the lookout for good quotes. The best ones–the ones that resonate with us–contain not only wisdom for the particular situation in which we find ourselves, but also they have a little packet of energy that’s just the boost we need to take the next few steps.
In the comments section, let me know of these will help you take the next steps in crafting your soul-prospering life. Thanks!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
BABY STEPS: A FEW QUOTES TO ENCOURAGE YOU
What baby steps are you going to take this week toward your dreams? Here are a few quotes about baby steps to “prove” to you that they really do work.
Progress. Just make progress. It’s okay to have setbacks and the need for do-overs. It’s okay to draw a line in the sand and start over again – and again. Just make sure you’re moving the line forward. Move forward. Take baby steps… Then change will come. And it will be good. ~Lysa TerKeurst
You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.~Martin Luther King, Jr.
To make the quickest progress, you don’t have to take huge leaps. You just have to take baby steps-and keep on taking them. In Japan, they call this approach kaizen, which literally translates as ‘continual improvement.’ Using kaizen, great and lasting success is achieved through small, consistent steps. It turns out that slow and steady is the best way to overcome your resistance to change.~Marci Shimoff It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.~Confucius
Pause and remember – Everyone gets discouraged and feels lost at times. Don’t worry – life will get better. A new way is being made for you. Keep moving forward even if it’s just baby steps.~Jennifer Young
Babies learning to walk embody the deepest truth about deep practice: to get good, it’s helpful to be willing, or even enthusiastic, about being bad. Baby steps are the royal road to skill.~Daniel Coyle Little by little does the trick. ~Aesop Go gently and slowly. These are baby steps. Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.~Julia Cameron You’re never too old to take baby steps. ~Capital STEEZ
Don’t look too far in the future, don’t worry about how you’re going to have enough time or enough money or enough smarts; the “how?” is up to God. Just put your whole focus on this moment, doing this baby step at this moment; and then once you finish that one, God and the angels will give you the next assignment and so on and so forth.~Doreen Virtue I knew it was unrealistic to think I could build an institution overnight. But if I took baby steps, eventually it would happen.~Russell Simmons Seeing a pattern doesn’t mean you know how to put it all together. Take baby steps: don’t focus on the folks whose skills are far beyond your own. When you’re new to something-or you haven’t tried it in a while-it can feel impossibly hard to get it right. Every misstep feels like a reason to quit. You envy everyone else who seems to know what they’re doing. What keeps you going? The belief that one day you’ll also be like that: Elegant. Capable. Confident. Experienced. And you can be. All you need is enthusiasm, a little bravery, a sense of humor, and to regularly take baby steps.~Kate Jacobs
In the comments below, let me know which of these quotes you like the best. Thanks!