Turn A Difficult Big Leap Into A Simple Step

 Photo credit:  Lindsay Henwood

Photo credit: Lindsay Henwood

Thanks to the media and glossy photography, we all love ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos.

The average looking home hammered into a beautiful oasis. The urban blight smoothed into a lush park. The overweight-mom-turned-ironman-athlete.

These photos mesmerize us because they celebrate the idea of making big leaps. They are tidy packages of hope and transformation.

Mesmerizing, too, because we want transformation for ourselves.

Yet for some, personal or professional transformation—that leap—can feel difficult and scary.

Even if we have a vision of our own ‘after’ picture there is sometimes no clear path towards it.

Making a big leap may feel difficult and scary, but moving towards it is easier than you think.

Shifting Your Focus To Process, Not Results

Let’s go back to the ‘after’ photo. Held within that full-color frame is a beautiful and breathtaking result.

Which is where the problem lies.

That photo? It only tells part of the story.

‘Before’ and ‘after’ photos tell the beginning and end of the story. Not the messiness of the middle.

They reveal Point A and Point Z but nothing about what happened between Point B and Y.

If you’ve thought about and shied away from making a big leap, knowing this is can help. Because when you shift your focus from Point Z to Point B, then moving forward can be so much easier.

So, let’s shift our focus from making a leap to a simple process of taking one step at a time.

Get where you want by focusing on Point B through Y, not Point Z. (Tweet that!)

Getting To Point B…And Beyond

No one can climb a mountain in one go.

Similarly, all big leaps start with a single step. And the size of the step matters less than just starting. The point is to simply move forward.

Before they hit the trail, experienced hikers pack their backpacks with The Ten Essentials.

Likewise, for your journey, your “leap”, you will need one essential ingredient: a curious and open mind.

This is what Carol Dweck calls the “growth” mindset.

Without a strong desire to know or understand something—to be open—you will remain stuck. The desire to grow pulls us forward.

So, cultivate your growth mindset and you might just be amazed at where it will lead you.

Cultivate your growth mindset and be amazed at where it will lead you. (Tweet it out!)

Now that you have with the right mindset, here are some simple tips for getting started. And remember, put aside your fears. You can do some of these while remaining firmly rooted in your comfort zone.

1.     Explore. What are your values, interests and priorities? What are your superpowers? What are your constraints? Who are your heroes and why? What problems do you want to solve? How do you want to impact the world? What legacy do you want to leave?

Turn your curiosity inward. Then turn it outward and consider what direction to head in. Ask a lot of questions of yourself and others. Remember, exploring is meant to be fun, playful, expansive and creative. You have absolutely nothing to lose other than regret for not living a life true to yourself. You don’t want to live with regret, right?

2.     Research. Once you’ve explored, it’s time for research. Do you have a business idea? Test it. Do you want to change careers and need more education? Find out costs in terms of time and money. Do you want to climb the career ladder? Connect with a mentor who can guide you. Get the facts you need to make decisions about new possibilities.

3.     Network. Do you already have some clarity about new possibilities? Introduce yourself to someone who is where you want to be and pick his or her brain. Go to meet ups. Talk to others in your network and find out who they know. Ask for introductions. Make a list of questions and get into conversations.

Hate the idea of going to networking functions? Then don’t make yourself go because you probably won’t. Find ways to “network” authentically. When you do, then you are more likely to put yourself out there. The goal is to “work your network.” And while you’re at it, work other people’s networks, too.

4.     Build a support system. Change is difficult as a solo adventure. Connect with people who can support you when the going gets rough. They will uphold your vision when your arms are giving out. They can also hold you accountable for what you’ve set out to do. They will cheer you on. They will share their ideas. They will put their arms around you. And, you never know, you just may inspire them to consider making a big leap!

Here are a few more small steps to get you started on your big leap:

Thinking about moving to a new town or city? Subscribe to the local paper and learn about what’s going on.

Want to take on new responsibilities at work? Talk to your supervisor or manager to find out how.

Want to learn a new skill? Attend a conference or class.

Want to start a business? Do it as a side hustle (and don’t quit your day job).

‘Before’ and ‘after’ photos lead us to think someone made a big leap.

But, often, there’s no leaping involved. Big leaps are simply the sum total of many small steps taken over a period of time.

People who have made big leaps started with one step and just kept going.

What’s a step that you could make today? It can be as small or large as you like.

And when you make that step, you will be further ahead than you were moments before. Soon, the next step will reveal itself.

Before you know it, you will be building momentum and heading up the mountain.

What do you think of this post? Please share in the comments. Thanks!