The life-changing potential of one single small step

footsteps

Do you have a big dream you feel inspired to pursue, but somehow you just never quite get started on it?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how often we let our goals and dreams languish on the shelf, waiting for the time to be right to pursue them (or maybe even feeling deep down like we probably never will).

There are a bazillion reasons we do this. One of the biggies is feeling overwhelmed at the size and perceived do-ability of the vision.

With that in mind, may I present to you…<drumroll,please!>…the superhuman power of one single small step!

Many of us have a tendency to over-complexify things. Looking at the big picture is helpful when it helps you get context for where you’re going and what you need to do to get there. But if you find yourself shouldering the full weight of that big goal right here in the present moment, it’s time to get small!

Why is a single-step focus so powerful? :

Taking that single small step creates momentum

Sometimes the worst enemy of what we want to achieve is the simple inertia of inaction. Taking a step puts you in motion. And when you’re in motion, more movement is easier.

It’s like the difference between trying to start riding a bicycle in a high gear from a standstill and shifting into a high gear while you’re already zooming down the bike path. It takes a lot less effort and feels a lot easier on your legs if you’re already in motion.

Taking that single small step creates success

Taking a single small step can start creating small successes you can build on. Even just the fact that you’re in motion can be celebrated as a success. Feeling that sense of success can cultivate a greater sense that the action you take can lead to more success.

Taking that single small step creates insight

When you take steps, you get results. Something happens as a result of the action you take. That might not always be the result you’re looking for, but regardless of the outcome, there is a potential for learning.

Most of us want the path to success to look like this:

Step…Success…Step…Success….Step…Wheeeeeee! Big success!

A more accurate (if abbreviated) picture is this:

Step…Hmmmm…that didn’t quite work. Why not? What could I do differently?…Step…Oh yeah, that’s better…Step…Crap! I thought I had this figured out. What went wrong?…Step…Ohhhh yeah! That’s what I’m talkin’ about, baby!

Taking that single small step creates opportunity

Finally, taking that first step puts things in motion that can open doors to opportunity you would never have seen if you just stood at the starting line and scanned the possibilities you could clearly see from there.

Maybe the door opens because taking a step created a connection you didn’t have before. Maybe that step planted an idea in your head. Maybe it gave you a better picture of the reality of what you’re trying to do, so you can adjust and refocus.

The opportunities you can see when you’re standing still is just a fraction of the opportunities that will show up when you start taking action.

At the end of the day, standing still and thinking about what you do will never take you down the path to your goal. The only way to get there is step by step by step.

Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

11 career change blocking mistakes to avoid

 

11 career blocking mistakes

Do you have a career change percolating? Want to make it as fluid and successful (and minimally painful and challenging) as possible? Then today’s post is for you!

For thirteen plus years in my Passion Catalyst work, I have had front row seat on people’s career change efforts. Along the way,I have had a bazillion conversations with aspiring career changers, both my clients and others.

In the process, I have gotten a good picture of how people get in the way of a successful career change. I would like to share a few of the big ones here.

Taking a blind leap

This is probably the biggest mistake I see people in danger of making. They feel frustrated and stuck, and they want to hightail it out of Dodge into something better ASAP. And so they jump ship to something that seems attractive, only to discover too late that they have jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.

Before you commit to any career change, take the time to get a deep understanding of what makes you tick. Figure out what energizes you, and where you shine. A good place to start is identifying your energizers.

Immediate gratification mindset

Here’s the cold hard truth. A successful career change almost never happens with the flip of a switch. There’s no giving your notice on Friday and starting a grand and glorious new career on Monday.

Wanting the immediate gratification of a change to something new is understandable, but it gets in the way when it becomes a guiding desire.

It can lead to mistakenly assessing an opportunity as not possible (what might be impossible immediately is often possible over the course of a couple years). And it can contribute to a feeling that you’re failing when you’re actually making progress (if your definition of success is a dramatic change in the short-term, even good but slow progress towards change in the long-term can feel like failure).

Believing your no

When my clients are at the stage of assessing the feasibility of the potential careers they have identified, I always advise them to question it any time the answer is no.

Sometimes no really is a valid answer, but other times it’s more of a knee-jerk no than a well-supported assessment. An example of this is the scenario I mentioned earlier of someone mistakenly seeing something as impossible when taking a longer-term view would open the door to possibility.

When you look at a potential career and ask, “Is this feasible,” follow any no up by asking, “Is that really true? What assumptions am I making? Are they valid? How could I make it feasible?”

Believing your yes

The flipside of believing your no is flying down the path with an unquestioned belief in your yes. When you decide that an a new career option, spend some time building a case for why it’s a good idea. Will it really work for you? Is there really the potential there you think you see?

Don’t take a pessimistic approach to this. It’s more one of positive curiosity. Think of it as testing the solidness of a rope bridge across a river before you choose to go runnning across it.

Not expecting obstacles

Another really common mistake I see people making is somehow not expecting obstacles to pop up. This can lead them to mistaking a roadblock for the end of the road. “Crap! I guess thisn’t isn’t really doable after all.”

Reframe what obstacles mean. Rather than something that proves that what you’re trying to do isn’t possible, or that you don’t have what it takes, just look at them as a normal part of the landscape you’ll inevitably need to navigate.

Over-expecting obstacles

It’s also an all-too-common mistake for people to fill their path with phantom obstacles. Awareness of the possibility of obstacles can be valuable, but continually assigning a solid sense of reality to obstacles you haven’t even encountered yet is a recipe for trouble.

As you move towards a new career, make it a habit to check in with yourself to see if any limiting imagined reality is slowing you down.

Not creating an inner foundation

OK, you know by now I’m going to weave this one in any chance I get. When people don’t have a solid inner foundation – when they don’t have a grounding practice to slow down the hamster wheel in their minds – it’s easier for doubt, worry, and fear to take over.

Developing some kind of grounding practice, whether it is meditation, Qi Gong, breathing practices, mindfulness, or something else, gives that poor overworked hamster a break and helps you come from a greater sense of peace.

No objective forum for assessment

Somewhere along the line in their career change, people often feel like they’re not making any progress (some of this is that immediate gratification beastie rearing its head again). And when they do, it’s too easy for them to throw up their hands and say, “This isn’t working.”

Having a way to objectively check in can help immensely. It might be as simple as taking a journal and asking questions like, “What steps have I taken? What progress have I made? How am I closer to a successful change than I was? What difficulties am I running into? What can I do about them?”

Not having a plan

Diving in and winging it is a great way to fall flat on your face. When you decide to make a career change, spend some time creating a plan for how you’re going to make that happen. What are the steps? What do you need to learn? What relationships do you need to develop? What’s standing in your way? How will you navigate past that?”

The more you think it through in advance, the fewer surprise you’ll encounter and the better prepared you will be.

Over-attachment to a plan

Some people run into the opposite problem from the free-wheeling no-plan-for-me types. They get so rigidly attached to their plan (and their goals) that it gets in the way of being able to nimbly recognize and capitalize on opportunities and explore alternative routes past obstacles.

Make it a habit to check in with your goals and plans and ask, “What needs to change here?”

Mistaking molehills for mountains

I mentioned this one under “not expecting obstacles,” but it merits its own focus. When you run into the inevitable pothole in the road, resist the urge to create a story that the road is washed out. Let the molehills stay molehills.

When you find yourself responding negatively to a difficulty, ask yourself, “Is this difficulty really as big as I think it is? Is my response proportionate to the actual size of the problem?”

So there you have it. Ten mistakes you can avoid in your career change. Which ones are you in danger of making?

Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

How to ride your fear to success

Does fear ever stop you dead in your tracks and stop you from stepping fully into your potential? Do you ever feel inspired to do something, then watch that inspiration seep away as fear leaks into the picture?

If so, welcome to the human experience! That happens to all of us, to some degree.

In my most recent Wild About Work video, I take a look at how to harness that fear to help you reach your goals, rather than letting it stop you.

Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

5 types of support you need to get Wild About Work

If you want to create work you love, do not, do not, do not fall prey to the notion that you can do it all yourself! That’s a great way to both fail and have a really sucky, insecure, fear-filled time in the process.

When I first started my Passion Catalyst coaching work back in 2001, I was making a change from a past life as a marketing guy. While I was a natural coach (I literally put a framework around what I did naturally), I wasn’t a career expert.

To start developing a knowledge base, I interviewed dozens of people who had successfully pursued their passions in their careers to learn from their success.

It was a fascinating project. One of the biggest themes I saw was this: “I couldn’t have done it alone.” Almost every single person I talked to echoed some variation of that theme.

Today’s video reflects that basic truth that getting Wild About Work is NOT a solo sport.

In the video, I dive (with my customary perfect imperfection) into five key areas to seek out support:

Emotional support: Guess what? You’re human! This ride is going to be a lot less bumpy and a lot more effective if you consciously seek out emotional support along the way.

Professional support: Seeking out mentors can play a huge role in creating a career you love. There is no shortage of people who have been there, done that – why not tap into their insights?

Clarity support: Whether it is a coach like me or a friend who has a gift for helping you sort through things, having someone in your life to help you get clarity can help you minimize the time you spend spinning your wheels, help you stop getting in your own way, and find focus so you can take action and get traction.

Inspiration support: Surrounding yourself by people who inspire and energize you can be .a source of fuel you can put into your success.

Role model support: This is related to the previous one. You become the people you spend most of your time with – make who you become a conscious decision by spending time with people who embody the qualities you want to develop.

As you can see, this video was another step in my path of perfect imperfection (taking action and doing something, rather than dithering with perfectionizing and doing nothing). The white noise of the waterfall is stronger than I would like. Time to get a remote mic, I think.

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

Career Passion 101

A big part of getting Wild About Work is doing work that energizes you. In this video, I share a nuts-and-bolts, common sense approach to finding passion in your work.

Based on the approach I developed in my Passion Catalyst coaching to help my clients create careers that energize and inspire them, in this video, I take a look at:

  • My definition of passion
  • Why passion isn’t about what you love
  • How to identify your passion’s basic building blocks that you can use to both improve your current work and plan for passion in your career’s future

Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide