Take the First Step

The most difficult part of any journey is the first step. Overcoming that difficulty requires a simple change in perspective.

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” — Napoleon Hill

Setting off on any journey in life can be daunting.

There is a tendency to obsess over the big picture. The sheer size of it evokes the fear of failure, and failure is something we naturally avoid. It is dangerous.

The first step is always the most difficult.

The fear of what stands before us looms large and casts a long shadow. We want so much to achieve or become what is at the end of that journey, but uncertainty and doubt rule us.

Our chief defense is one of procrastination. We will be ready some day, just not today. The time is not right. The tools at our disposal are too few. Surely there must be an easier way.

The truth is, conditions will never be perfect, nor will the tools be perfectly suited to the task.

Just take the first step. As Lao Tzu once said, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Forget about the big picture for a moment and start by showing up. Focus intently on putting one foot in front of the other. Just a small, barely perceptible step. Limit the time, difficulty and dependencies on others.

Focus on what you CAN do instead of what you CAN’T do. That change in focus makes the first step approachable, harmless and even silly.

Once taken, the most difficult part of your journey is now complete. The next step is a little easier, a little bigger. The step after that even more so.

With each step, momentum builds. Additional tools are discovered along the way. Possibilities multiply. The original destination shifts as the way forward becomes ever clearer.

All great journeys begin with one, small step in the right direction.