The First (and Hardest) Step

Most people who are struggling and want to improve their situation aren’t lacking vision.   While they may not know the exact path forward, they have clarity on what a better career, family, or community might look like.  It’s easy to imagine a job where you get to contribute your best work, have the respect of your colleagues, and enjoy high-level compensation.

Most of us also have the raw talent needed to succeed.  While it may be hidden below the surface, nearly everyone has an abundance of creativity, resilience, and the intelligence.  So what’s thing that so often trips us up? That first step.

If you’re in sales, picking up the phone is harder than the actual act of selling.  If you’re considering medical school, signing up to take the entrance exams is an intimidating and difficult task.  If you’re trying to get in shape, showing up at the gym can take more effort than your actual workout.

Inertia is a tough dragon to slay.  In high school physics, we learned that “an object at rest will stay at rest” unless it is set in motion by a disruptive force.  Getting past fears of failure or rejection, and past the anticipated hardships of a new path can be a far bigger block to achievement than the actual work on your journey.  The most difficult step of a mountain climb isn’t the last one — it’s the first.

What disruptive force is needed in your own life to push you into action?  Many people wait for a setback such as a job loss, divorce, or heart attack to begin a new strategy in earnest.  Instead of waiting for a knockdown, take your initiative now.  The most powerful force to get you started on pursuing your calling is the dormant passion within you.

Luckily, we also learned in high school that “an object in motion will stay in motion.”  After the incredibly difficult first step, every movement becomes easier and the progress becomes faster.  Your initiative to get started can quickly turn into unstoppable momentum.

This week, start something new.  Take that first scary step.  Put your dream in motion, even if you don’t have a crystal clear path to your finish line.  Even though it may feel difficult, it will sting a whole lot less than the regret you’ll eventually feel for not leaping into action.

You’re here to make an impact and realize your full potential.  Now is the time to set your vision into motion.  You – and your high school physics teacher – will be proud you did.