I was coaching a client recently who just landed a great job in her dream city. Instead of feeling happy, though, she was feeling anxious about all the other parts of her life that she didn’t have time for yet, since she was traveling a lot for work and still unpacking from her move. I reminded her of all that she was doing and that navigating a new job in a new city is hard enough, without adding more to do’s, like daily exercise, meditation and a set sleep schedule. Maybe this was the time for tiny steps, which are the smallest steps you can imagine taking toward a goal. “What is the tiniest thing you can do right now?” I asked. She talked about needing to go to bed much earlier since she wasn’t get enough sleep. She wanted to start going to bed two hours earlier overnight, but then realized that getting to bed before midnight for starters was doable. It didn’t seem like a very impressive step but it was something she thought she could do, so it was the perfect tiny step for her.
So often people trying to find their world stage are so overwhelmed by all the things they want to change in their lives, that they don’t do anything. So often we want to lose 10 pounds in a week, as the grocery store magazines promise, but what if we just do one tiny step like start walking around the block once before dinner? Or eating desserts only on weekends? Many of us think that doing something small will have no impact, but what if we played the guitar 5 min per day or practiced Spanish every time we were in the car? We would start to see small shifts that over time really add up to a life we love.
The key to finding your world stage is first asking yourself what you wish you had in your life and then taking the first tiny step. If you want to find a partner, perhaps you try smiling at every person you encounter as you walk down the street instead of looking at your phone. If you want to start finding paying work after having been at home with kids, perhaps you start by saying no to any new volunteering so you can carve out time for you.
If you think about how a garden grows, it always starts with tiny seeds, that if cultivated, grow into something beautiful. The same is true for people. What is your next tiny step?