Baby steps

You may know that I am a baby stepper. You may also know that a person can travel quite well taking baby steps.

We know all the proverbs. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Something about a tortoise.

I used to beat myself up for being a baby stepper. I chided myself for being a chicken shit and not just leaping. And when I look back, I see have made some leaps of faith, even if I inched up to the edge, baby stepping, before I took a leap.

Before I left my secure government job at the IRS, I took vacation days to try out my new gig of teaching English as a Second Language. I didn’t just leap. I tested the waters.<a href=”http://kellyepperson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/tiptoe.jpg”><img src=”http://kellyepperson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/tiptoe.jpg” alt=”tiptoe” width=”310″ height=”308″ /></a>

Before I left my secure 20-year marriage, I spent several years trying to make it right. Even when within me, I knew it was the answer, I didn’t just bolt into divorce. I mourned the end of the marriage long before it was officially over and then baby stepped into the unknown.

And even when I found my Prince Charming, I baby stepped there too.

There are times when I leap. Move to France? Hell yeah, that was one time I didn’t baby step. Buy a house? I have had at least eight. Get my hair cut off. Done that without a blink.

Yet I know many people have to ease into things. They cut an inch cut off their long tresses before they go back for a short bob. When faced with a new course of action, they ponder possibilities and weigh their options. Leap or baby step, both have a time and a place.

Don’t confuse baby steps with inertia. You gotta keep moving. Just don’t compare yourself. I no longer judge others. And I no longer judge me. If someone is leaping into new business ventures and I am still trying to figure out my next step, so be it.

Sometimes a gentle nudge is okay. If someone is spinning their wheels, I can help them in their process. I want all the baby steppers to feel confirmed and I also want to remind them that baby steps are forward movement.

Standing still is not the same. Spinning around in doubt is not the same. Forward movement, even if a baby step, is accomplishment, and from that we gain momentum.

I used to get frustrated with all the people who would tell me their book writing woes. They stated how much they wanted to write a book and yet did nothing. Instead of thumping on them forehead, now I encourage them to take baby steps. Sure, some people can write a book in a week. Some may take a few months longer. As long as you are moving forward, that is key.

I cheer baby steps. I work with people who can now relish their pace, because they see another page is written, another chapter is complete. Momentum. Baby steps. Accomplishment.

So don’t beat yourself up if you have stopped and stalled. The reasons are deeper than “I don’t have time” and when we bust through that, baby steps get the job done. Sometimes, leaping is even involved.

No matter your obstacle, you can overcome. Keep going, get the support you need. In the clever words of George Carlin: If you step on the brakes, your life is in your foot’s hands.

If you ever watched the Christmas shows when you were a kid, you may recall the song about putting one foot in front of the other. That’s all you have to do. The smallest step in the right direction often ends up being the biggest step in your life.

Tip toe your way there. Take the step. Let your dreams come true. Baby steps can get you there.

You can baby step your way into a book.
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