Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
While that always sounded good in theory, it didn’t really sink in, since I had a hard time figuring out what the first step was. And what about keeping your eye on the bigger picture? I’m so good at overthinking, that my brain goes in meltdown mode and I don’t take any steps at all. I didn’t realize, that some of my bigger picture thoughts were “how” thoughts, as in how to get there or how to do it and wanting to do it all and preferably perfect or at least really, really good from the start.
I’m learning this year, that “first steps” are actually coming pretty easy, I just didn’t recognize them as such, they just came as fun ideas to try. And I’ve finally figured out what the quote means: I may see the whole staircase and at first get discouraged by the daunting task of reaching the top in my current condition, but I can start by taking the first step and having fun with it and along the way I’ll learn how to take the next step and keep practicing taking steps till I gradually grow into the person that can make it all the way to the top, even if I wasn’t that person at the bottom and wasn’t even sure if I could be a person that can reach the top. I don’t have to know how to be a top step person, all I have to do is enjoy taking the first one and play with it till I’m ready to take the next one. That’s how houses are built (one brick at the time… usually), that’s how marathon runners start (one step at the time and then one mile at the time, etc.) and that’s how I’ll start, and even when I pause on a step, or even fall back, it’s not the end, I can get back up and try once more any time I want.
It feels silly that it only sunk in now, but it’s like one of those puzzle games, where you have to guide a little ball to a little hole to make it drop to the next level. That’s how it feels like, as if the meaning of this just reached the next level and another crack was formed in my notion that I have to be perfect at everything from the beginning. I’m becoming more human, more me.
Set a goal so big that you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can. -Author unknown
While I just rejoiced in figuring out how to not get overwhelmed by the staircase, this quote does relate too. Without challenge, there is no growth, without the bigger destiny, there is no journey, no staircase. I can practice on little staircases to build confidence, but eventually I have to tackle the “dream big”-staircases and grow into the person that can achieve them. To do that, I’ll have to step out of my comfort zone and step up to the challenge, allowing change to transform me. I don’t have to be the perfect writer or write the perfect novel on the first try, but I have to try, so that eventually I will become a great novel writer.
I didn’t swim over the deep end of the pool the first time I dipped my toe in the water, I started in the paddling pool, had life savers on my arms to prevent me from sinking and gradually I learned the strokes to keep me afloat and even then it took a while to find the courage, to cross the line in the middle of the pool that marked where I could no longer feel the bottom if I stood up. But I did it and I still remember that day, how proud I was of myself and how proud my parents were. How excited I was that I did it. I have to remember these little journeys, and the excitement I felt when I made it across, when I made it to the top of my swimming staircase.
There will be many more staircases in my life, but now that I remember how to tackle them, I’m one step closer to conquering them. And that in itself is a cause for celebration.