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!
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!
I wrote this post on September 16, 2015, eleven months after my father passed away. I’ve had my share of very difficult times and Dad’s passing had to be the worst.
I still miss him very much and there are days when it feels like he just passed the day before: I’m bewildered, I can’t catch my breath, and I wonder how I’m going to put my life back together. I even wonder if it’s disrespectful on some level to live my life, pursue my dreams, and be happy because Dad isn’t here and he can’t do those things anymore and maybe me doing them is a form of bragging….
Oy how our minds love to twist us into pretzels!
There’s a simple technique I use that I’ll share with you at the end of the post. It helps me stagger forward when I feel that I really really can’t.
For now, though, here’s the original post:
WHEN LIFE AMBUSHES YOU HARD
Life is an expert at guerilla warfare. It loves to sneak up and ambush us with deadly precision in our most tender spots.
When it happens, we’re shocked–stunned. We can’t think; we can’t breathe. Panic sets in along with Terror, its BFF (Best Friend Forever).
We’re helplessly spinning, free-falling into the abyss, ripped from our moorings.
We’re absolutely convinced that we are being obliterated. If, by chance, there are any pieces of us left, we’re positive that they’ll be so infinitesimally small that we’ll never find them much less be able to put them back together.
We are convinced we are going to die.
Recovery is so far-fetched and outlandish of an idea that we don’t even consider it–it isn’t even the teensiest-tiniest blip on our radar screen.
But recovery ispossible. While you may never be able to get back the life that you had before the deadly ambush, you can go on and build a life that you are proud of, one that’s fulfilling and that gives you great satisfaction and peace.
Even though this seems impossible, it can be done. Not by quitting, giving up or giving in, and not by throwing in the towel. As yesterday’s quotes point out, Life’s Ambushes and the resulting panic and terror are conquered by taking action (click here to be taken to yesterday’s post).
Do not dismiss, sneer at, or look with contempt or derision at taking teeny tiny bits of steps. They add up over time! As long as you keep taking the tiny bits of steps–being relentless about it–you will crush it, guaranteed.
The reason why is precisely because Life is a guerilla fighter. It can’t last through the long haul. And Life can’t handle it when you charge at it by taking action.
If you keep at it–keep taking action by regularly taking little tidbits of steps, Life will quit first. It will blink first. It will be the first to slink away with its tail between its legs.
Your homework today is to take the next step. Break it down into little teeny tiny jots–specks small enough that you know for sure you can easily do them. Then do them!
You can do this, you are not alone. I am with you, cheering you on. I believe in you and I am convinced you can do it and that you will do it!
I am so proud of you for taking one jot of a step, then a speck of a step, then a crumb of a step…. You are AWESOME!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
The Simple Technique:
As I said in the post, taking action is going to save you every single time. While it’s ideal to take action on your dreams–take a little baby step that will move you closer to them–sometimes just taking action is good enough.
For instance, when I’m in a bad place and am feeling hopeless and helpless and I know trying to take a baby step in the direction of my dreams is out of the question because it’s way too much for me to handle. Instead, I’ll do something that’s very very simple, something that doesn’t require a lot of thought or time or energy.
Here are a few examples of actions I may take:
Straighten up: I’ll fold the laundry; I’ll tidy up the pile of books that I want to read that’s always beside my chair; I’ll wipe down the kitchen counter; I’ll throw in a load of laundry.
Give myself time off: I’ll read for fun (fiction); I’ll daydream; I’ll watch a favorite movie.
Take a nap: usually when I’m in a bad place I find I’m also exhausted. After my nap, I may not be the sunniest most positive person around but my mood is always just a little bit better than it was before the nap. This helps me swing the momentum toward optimism.
Go to YouTube and listen to uplifting music or messages: YouTube rocks! I find when I listen to music with a upbeat rhythm to it, it improves my mood. And, listening to inspiring and motivating messages helps me get my thoughts pointed in the right direction.
These are a few examples of actions I take that help me get back on track. What are some of the things you do?
It isn’t too late to achieve some of the goals/intentions/resolutions you chose for yourself at the beginning of 2017. Here are a few quotes to inspire you to choose one or two of your goals and to work on them during these next few weeks:
You can do it! I believe in you! –Lauren, Your Friend and Pep Pal
All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work. –Calvin Coolidge
You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your won highest standards, and when you reach and surpass your limits, that is real joy. –Arthur Ashe
There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do. –Derek Jeter
You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you. –Maya Angelou
The opposite of fear is love – love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion to take a shot at our dream and see if we can pull it off.” ― Steven Pressfield, Do the Work
Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. –Sam Ewing
Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100%–you make it that much easier for me to beat you. –Unknown
Things may come to those who wait, but only the thins left by those who hustle. –Abraham Lincoln
Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can do wrong. –Ella Fitzgerald
Stay stupid. Follow your unconventional, crazy heart. ― Steven Pressfield, Do the Work
A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work. –Colin Powell
Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat. –Ann Landers
To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them. –Picabo Street
Don’t think. Act. We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act. ― Steven Pressfield, Do the Work
Success in no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. –Pele
Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. –Mark Twain
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. –Thomas Edison
Someday is not a day of the week. –Janet Daily
Choose a few of these quotes to keep handy as you go through the week. Refer to them often and let their wisdom and power infuse your being; let them be the fuel for your quest.