I was on the phone earlier today with one of my best friends in the world who always acts as a supportive sounding board when I need to vent, freak out, or just bitch about life in general. Here I am, deep in the throes of complaining about the areas of my life that aren’t moving or progressing quickly enough, when I almost landed my heel squarely on top of an inch worm meandering along the top of my coffee table. He looked up at me with his squishy little inchworm face as if to say, “Listen lady…get that roadblock out of my way…I’m trying to make some progress here!” I moved my foot and marveled as he slowly and steadily continue his trek across the tabletop. “Pete,” I said “I think I have just been given a sign from the Universe!”
Later, my mad Google skills came in handy as I researched the significance of this little guy showing up (I’m all about Spirit Animals). I found my way to an awesome website on the subject (aptly named spirit-animals.com) and the quotation box at the top of the page informed me that this adorable, tiny, green worm was telling me that “Transformation is at hand. Just one more small step and you are there.” I knew I liked him! This little fellow showed up in my life at the perfect moment to help me see the error in my thinking. Instead of seeing all of the things I haven’t been able to accomplish yet, I needed to shift my focus to all of the steps I have taken to move in the direction that I want to be going. Well played Universe.
At some point or another, we are all guilty of thinking this way…probably more often than we might even be aware of. How many times have you mentally beaten yourself up because you haven’t lost the ten pounds, or eliminated sugar from your diet, or run the marathon, or expanded the business to reach another 1000 customers, or paid off all of your credit card debt, or perfected your dance steps, or become a rock star, or performed life-saving surgery, or kept up with your laundry for an entire week, or cooked the perfect chili, or planted a vegetable garden that actually grows??? We could go on forever and ever, but you get the picture. The vast majority of us are CONSTANTLY making ourselves feel like we are less than enough, instead of acknowledging that the process of transformation takes a balanced combination of time, belief in your vision, and perseverance. That’s not to say that miracles don’t happen and you can’t go from picking up the guitar for the first time to overnight rockstar, but again, for the vast majority of us, it’s going to take a little more than that…and that’s OKAY!
We tend to get into this trap of thinking that because we aren’t yet experiencing the reality of the end result that we want, nothing is happening. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Every step that you are taking in the direction of your end goal is getting you closer to reaching it… whether it feels like it right now or not! Think of our little friend the inchworm…if he had gotten so focused on reaching the end of the table how overwhelmed would he be feeling? Probably just enough to stop moving, let out a tiny, exasperated inchworm sigh, and completely give up trying to get there altogether, which would have likely led to my heel landing on him and squishing him right into the table. It would have been a tragedy for the little guy! It’s not that nothing is happening, it’s just that the things that are happening might not be lining up with our perfect time frame, causing fear, self-doubt, and anxiety.
If you happen to find yourself at that intersection of fear and doubt, practice patience with yourself. Instead of focusing on all of the things you haven’t done, make a list of all of the things you HAVE done! Put any silly thing that you can think of on there! Emailed a person that could potentially help you reach your goal, landed your first gig/client/class/etc, daydreamed for twenty minutes on all of the amazing things you were eventually going to create…maybe you just got out of bed and showered even though you were riddled with all of this anxiety! List them ALL, big and small, and refer back to this list every single time that doubt starts to creep back in.
If you feel like you actually haven’t done ANYTHING to start working towards the goal, then now’s the time to do that. First off, set one! Then, make a list of all the steps you will need to take to reach it, and start taking them one inch at a time. When the overwhelm starts to creep in, just take a deep breath and go right back to focusing on the one task at hand.
The fact is, if you do nothing, you are sure to remain where you are. If you start moving, you have nowhere to go but forward. Don’t let yourself get squished to the table by the big heel of self-doubt. Nobody wins that one. And if you need help getting motivated, ask for help! Reach out to your friends, family, mentors, teachers, counselors, coaches (I happen to know a pretty good one), and anybody else who inspires you to dream big and move into your greatness in every capacity! You are the only one who can take the first step!
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