So much has been written about, talked about, and thought about making the first step towards what you want to see be different.
The question I want to explore is: When does the first step actually begin?
In my work with hundreds of hundreds of coaching clients in 17 countries and counting, it’s been my experience that the most difficult step to take? It’s the first one. The process to move off the comfortable island of status quo, and simply begin chasing your endgame.
Sometimes the impetus for the first step transpires from an external source. Other times the seed is planted at birth, and at the right time germinates when the opportunity presents itself. And yet other times it’s a combo of the two sprinkled with a dash of serendipity and magic unfolds like a piece of perfectly written fiction on some idle Tuesday afternoon when you least expected.
This month marks my 7th anniversary as a blogger. I can’t wait for the gifts you’ll FedEx to me in SE Asia. Or better yet, the envelopes stuffed with cash. 🙂
Seven years ago, my friend Mitch MItchell convinced me to be vulnerable, spread my wings, without prior knowledge nor experience, and become a blogger.
Mitch is a business consultant in the hospital industry, a professional blogger, and author of several books on leadership. His blogs span numerous topics from business, finance, diversity, goings on around Syracuse, NY and of course everything there is to know about blogging and social media. I embolden you to read his content.
The only reason I commenced this blog in August 2011 (I can’t believe it’s been that long) is because of Mitch. The idea of launching a blog was never on my radar screen. The universe was quietly blazing another path.
On several occasions leading up to August 2011, either over lunch at Wegman’s, or a nonchalant stroll at Onondaga Park, Mitch would prod, persuade, and plug the benefits a blog would spawn for my business, SEO, current and future clients. Without his advocacy, my collection of almost 300 essays would have never been written.
The aforementioned is a perfect example in regards to the genesis of the first step coming from an external source. Mitch saw something in me I couldn’t see in myself. I was so deep in the frame, I couldn’t visualize the big picture. Mitch certainly did. I appreciate him for taking that much of an interest in me and my business.
Lately I’ve been struggling to come up with content. I’ve been busy with other things including scuba diving, learning guitar, etc. Ha! Listen to me whine. Where’s the cheese?!
Writing is not easy for me. In fact, it’s not easy for those who write for a living.
“I hate writing; I love having written.” ~ Dorothy Parker
As I drifted down the stream of procrastination pondering a subject worthy to address, Mitch published an essay updating a post he wrote several years ago titled The Gurus Don’t Know It All. His idea was the stimulant to return to my first blog post titled The First Step on August 2, 2011. I thought it would be fun to look back on my words and buff, chisel, sculpt, massage and infuse new life into this topic of the first step based on my new awareness over the last seven years.
Let’s take a look at the first step first by examining a principle of nature called structural tension. It says tension seeks resolution. Tension looks to resolve itself wherever there’s greater pull.
Here’s what I mean. Hold a rubber band in both hands and pull it in opposing directions. At one end is your dream, goal, endgame, etc. and the other end is your reality. Whichever one you’re more committed to is the direction you’ll move. If you extend the rubber band and there is a greater pull in the direction of your endgame? You’ll tend to gravitate towards your endgame and the first step.
For the longest time my dream was to live in another country. Be a globetrotter.
When did this first step actually begin?
The idea to live somewhere outside the USA was planted by my Mother, an external stimuli, way back when I was a kid growing up in the bowels of the inner city and Yonkers, NY. She had Dad convinced we were moving to Australia. Why? Mom loved the sound, looks and feel of the beach. She also was enamored with golfer Greg Norman, an Aussie and superstar on the PGA tour.
We never moved to the land down under, however Mom gave me the idea that I could live anywhere.
Another seed that fueled the growth of my dream of living abroad was the first time I walked into the United Nations on a school field trip when I was no more than 10 years old. The building was bigger than life. I can still feel the layers of divergent people, race, color, creed, dress, language etc. From that moment forward I knew I was destined to explore and interact on a global stage.
The aforementioned scenario is an illustration of a combo of external and internal moments which led to my first step. A confluence of ingredients that innocently, softly, transparently, without an agenda, contributed to my future endgame.
Then of course the internal. The hunger to immerse myself with a multicultural checkerboard, in my opinion, was an agglomeration of adventure seeker, people connector, and culture explorer kindling wood amassed and placed by God, sitting inside me waiting for the perfect moment(s) for a spark to light the fire.
The best version of yourself is not something you choose, it’s something you discover. ~ Perfectly Yourself by Matthew Kelly
Now, what happens to most people once they decide to take the plunge and pursue their endgame? They create -but- statements which stifles momentum. Their gremlin called doubt creeps into the equation. I also call this the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee. We all have a committee. The IBSC reverberates parlance such as:
- But, I’m too young
- But, I’m too old
- But, I don’t have the time
- But, this will cost too much
- But, what will people think of me? aka Approval Addiction
Bam! In a NY minute they jump off the dreamweaver train and waddle in the muddle of the land of status quo. They get caught in the kill the dream lexicon and examine all the things they need to do to realize their goal. Their structural tension is resolved although not down their road of preferred intention. The one thing they fail to do is the most obvious and times the most challenging. Feel the fear, do it anyway, and take the first step.
Back to my dream of living abroad.
In 2015 it all came together. I received an email from the International Coach Federation, the governing body of coaching of which I’m a proud member, saying the next global conference was going to be held in the capital city of the Philippines, Manila.
During that month I tested the viability of living and working abroad. Coaching from anywhere to anywhere. I found my answer.
On my return flight home from Manila to the United States, I started to formulate my plan to move to the Philippines in SE Asia. I landed in Dumaguete April 1st, 2016. What an exciting journey it’s been thus far. I’ve learned a lot in a short period of time. I’m at the most happiest moment of my life.
Recently, a client asked me if I knew exactly how I was going to pull off an endgame to transfer from the comforts of a bucolic town in Central NY to a developed country. I quickly replied faster than a NY minute, “absolutely not!” In fact on many levels I was in the dark about almost everything. There’s so much to know.
At this moment you’re enrobed in armor (you look cool btw) in a battle to resolve your own structural tension. Your dreams on one side and fears on the other.
Matthew Kelly’s quote reveals the answer to my original question: When does the first step begin?
I’ve learned, you don’t choose the first step, the first step is already part of your DNA. It’s up to you to engage in some purposeful right brain thinking to reveal who you are, who you are meant to be, and trust the process.
What would you like to resolve? What do you want to be different? What’s your first step?
Contact me if you’d like to explore your endgame.