The Power of Taking the First Step

The power of taking the first step

I’m an ideas person. In fact, there are times when I could best be described as a one-woman-ideas-factory!

Ideas excite me… they energise and inspire me.

And there’s a very good reason for this! It’s because our ideas – mine and yours – are driven by a single, energising impulse – to be brought to life!

And yet as we know only too well, only SOME ideas come to fruition whereas others remain just that – ideas.

The question is ….WHY?

Now THIS is a question that absolutely fascinates me! Partly it’s the coach in me (we love our questions!) but partly because the answer has the potential to completely change the way we respond to our precious ideas.

But first, let me set the scene to help put this question in context. It’s a common scenario you may well be familiar with.

A new idea comes knocking…

Not just any old idea… an exciting, inspiring idea – something brilliant, like creating a business of your own perhaps! It’s SO very exciting…. and yes, maybe it’s even a bit scary. Correction – there’s no ‘maybe’ about it – it IS a bit scary. But this brilliant, exciting, inspiring idea really, REALLY floats your boat, right?

And then…

Ideas

You start thinking about the million-and-one steps you’d need to take to actually bring your idea to life. And slowly but surely, you start to feel more and more overwhelmed and before you know it, you’ve talked yourself out of it, possibly telling yourself it was a mad idea in the first place! It’s too late, too difficult, too expensive, now’s not the right time (a personal favourite!) and so on and so on. Feel free to add some of your own!

And bit by bit, the life is gradually snuffed out of the idea (that brilliant, exciting, inspiring idea, remember?) before it’s even seen the light of day!

I completely ‘get’ it though. So often, we hesitate to take ANY action, because it’s impossible to predict how ALL the subsequent steps are going to roll out. And because we want to have everything all figured out before we start – we DON’T start at all!

And THAT’S how an idea stays just that – an idea

Humans eh, what are we like? Is it any wonder we find it difficult to venture outside our comfort zone?

So what do we need to do differently if we’re to make our ideas a reality?

How do we get beyond the point where things start feeling so big and complex that they become downright scary and overwhelming?

Taking a different approach

Well, we KNOW that trying to figure out everything before we start is a recipe for disaster but here’s something to consider:

What if we made a deal with our self to just take the very first step…. with absolutely no pressure about the steps to take after that?

What if we decided to do this one thing as a way of honouring our ideas, creativity and inspiration?

How would that feel?

Because if you think about it, ALL major achievements begin as small steps which then gradually build into something more.

When I look back at the significant things I’ve done in my life, I can trace each and every one of them back to the first small step… usually some innocuous action, like saying yes to an opportunity, following my curiosity or typing my details into a website.

That’s exactly how my business began….

After running a business with my partner for some time, I reached a point where I knew I really wanted to ‘do something different’. Trouble was, I didn’t know WHAT that something might be. It all felt so BIG and so overwhelming and for a long time I was paralysed into doing….. yes, you guessed it, absolutely nothing!

But one day, one simple action unwittingly became the catalyst that changed everything.

What was that simple action?

I typed my name and email address into a website and signed up for a discovery session with a life coach! I didn’t have any real expectations about where this would take me – I was simply following my curiosity. From there, I decided to take the next step of working with her for a few months – a decision which quite literally changed my life. Because as a result of that, I decided to train to become a coach and the rest, as they as they say, is history! But without that first step, my life would be so much different to what it is now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it was all plain sailing from that point onward – it wasn’t – but the point I want to stress is, that one step started my journey and took me so much further than any amount of waiting, thinking or additional preparation ever could.

Kick-start the journey

It helped me kick-start an incredible new adventure and I’ve no doubt it could do exactly the same for you too. So many of us let our dreams slip away, simply because we were too afraid to take that first small step forward.

Time and time again, I’ve witnessed how quickly things unfold once clients decide to take the next step toward their goals…. and how that ONE step can kick-start their journey and lead them to places they could never have anticipated. That ONE step becomes a catalyst for further action, creating possibilities and opportunities that had absolutely zero percent chance of happening before!

And the same is true for you as you look to make your brilliant, exciting, inspiring idea of creating a business a reality. You don’t need to make a big, sweeping ‘do or die’ decision. You don’t need to have all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed.

Your journey can begin simply by taking the first step and allowing what comes next to unfold.

Take that powerful first step

We’re all familiar with the quote about a journey of a thousand miles starting with a single step and we recognise its obvious truth. First steps are incredibly powerful because above all else they allow the journey to begin. And once the journey begins, it can lead you to places you could never have envisioned in a million years!

If this sounds overly simplistic, please don’t dismiss it. Try it! It works. You don’t have to figure everything out, you just have to start. And to start you have take the first step.

And if you’re thinking, ‘nice idea but I don’t know WHAT the first step is’, I’ve got you covered. Yes this is a shameless plug but there’s no point in me having a solution for you and not telling you, is there? If you’re stuck, book yourself a Plan P Strategy Session – a full 60 minutes to fully engage with your ideagive it a bit of love, gain a fresh perspective on what’s possible and allow your new journey to begin.

I’ll finish with this piece of advice from the inspirational Liz Gilbert (an ‘ideas person’ if ever there was one!) who says, “Receive your ideas with respect and curiosity, not drama or dread.”

Sound advice, don’t you think?

So the next time a brilliant idea comes knocking, try doing just that – treat it with respect and curiosity. Take the first step… see where it might take you.

Unless you’re EXTREMELY fortunate, it’s quite likely you’ll have had experience of doing a job that’s – how shall I put it…. ‘less than enjoyable’!

Personally, I’ve had quite a few jobs I’ve absolutely LOATHED over the years! I’m talking here about jobs of the mind-numbingly boring variety (I’m thinking of you in particular Wrigley’s chewing gum factory!) where it was very much a case of just ‘going through the motions’ and ‘doing the 9 to 5’ purely to earn some money!

In the main, these were holiday jobs I had when I was a student – so at least they were only temporary! I often look back on these experiences with a mixture of nostalgia, amusement and horror – I STILL vividly remember the scene when the ‘whistle’ went at the aforementioned Wrigley’s factory and the workforce literally running out of the factory gates! The only way to avoid being trampled on in the rush was to join in and start running!

It was then I realised that what was a temporary drudge for me, was the full-time reality of working life for many others. It also made me realise – probably for the first time – how important it was when the time came to get a ‘proper job’, to choose something that provided me with a sense of personal fulfilment.

It’s something that’s stayed with me all this time

Because isn’t that what we ALL aspire to – fulfilling and purposeful work… work we’re passionate about… work that really lights up. Work we love.

Many of us spend a large part of our lives searching for this particular ‘holy grail’ and is what motivates many of us to start a business of our own in order to create an environment that ticks all the boxes of passion, purpose, potential and prosperity.

It took a long time but I now realise that is entirely possible to take a blank sheet and write your OWN specification for that work, based on who you are and what you love to do!

This realisation STILL gives me a thrill!

As a business coach working with talented women in their 50’s and 60’s I see how each and every one of us has amazing gifts and talents, but many of us don’t recognise our abilities as ‘gifts’. We mistakenly think that what comes naturally to us is also easy for everyone else. Consequently, we don’t appreciate how powerful or valuable these gifts are, or that we can use them to create a business we love.

Clarity is key!

I believe it’s possible for anyone to create a business that both honours what you have inside of you AND helps others…. and clarity is the key that unlocks it all!

All too often these things are often ‘hidden’ within us – it simply requires a healthy dose of self-awareness, to bring them out into the light:

  • Understand what’s important to you – your values, what you stand for and who you authentically are.
  • Know how to articulate this and be able to describe your authentic qualities, strengths, your personality, your ethos & style, what you’re passionate about and the vision that you have for what you want to achieve through your work.
  • Clarify, understand and appreciate what you uniquely have to offer: your knowledge, expertise and experience (both in life and work), your skills, your talents, your gifts, your achievements and lessons learned. Know, without doubt, and believe in, the value that you add simply by being who you are, with everything that makes up your unique brand of you-ness! This is absolutely crucial, because if you don’t understand and believe in your value, nobody else will!
  • Be clear about what you’d love to do… and what you wouldn’t! If you could spend all day every day doing something, what would it be? What would your ideal working day actually look? Decide what you want in terms of income, lifestyle, personal and professional development, interaction with other people, environment, hours, etc.

Once you have this type of clarity, it all becomes a whole lot easier

If you’re crystal clear on all of the above, especially with regard to who you authentically are, what you love to do and the value you add, you can then set about creating a work environment to match what you desire. After a lifetime of trying to match yourself to other people’s job descriptions, this can feel like a life-changing revelation!

Right here, right now, you already have something to offer.

You don’t need to be any more than you already ARE. You HAVE all the resources, power and potential within you right NOW, within your particular mix of talents, passion and experience.

Which on one hand is very good news but on the other, this clarity can be a frustratingly elusive thing to ‘uncover’. We cover ALL of this in the Inspiration Incubator programme so if you need a helping hand with this, do check it out.

Inspiration Incubator

It gently guides you through a step-by-step process to help you find tangible inner clarity about who you are and what you uniquely have to offer and shows you how THIS can be the basis of a purposeful, profitable business so you can create a life and make a living doing something you absolutely LOVE doing.

Because having a business in which you get to do the work you love, is not just the stuff of dreams – it’s a very real opportunity to transform your lifetime’s experience into something fulfilling, valuable and purposeful.

So You Want to Follow Your Passion?

‘Follow your passion!’

It has a wonderful ring to it doesn’t it? It sounds so enticing and seductive, it’s little wonder we latch on it as a mantra for the way forward! I mean, just imagine a world where we’re all following our passion and living our passion!

I regard myself as someone lucky enough to be doing exactly that – following and living MY passion – but I know it’s something that many of us think about and dream about without actually doing anything about it! (Been there… got the t-shirt!)

The thing is, when you don’t actually know WHAT your passion is, being told to ‘follow’ it is pretty frustrating advice! And even if you DO know what it is, making it a reality can often feel totally unattainable – and it’s pretty hard to follow something that’s so out of reach!

The world needs your passion!

Yes, the WORLD needs your passion. It NEEDS you to be doing the thing that light you up and makes you come alive.

The world needs you to FIND your passion!

So with such a LOT at stake, here’s a process to help you do exactly that, so you can get on with doing what you really want to do with your life AND make the world a better place at the same time!

It’s time for you to find it and name it so you can start living it.

Set your intention

If you’re reading this I’m guessing you’ve tried the ‘wait and see approach’! Let’s face it, it’s not exactly a reliable strategy is it… and it certainly isn’t fast!

If you want to manifest your dream, your first powerful step is to simply set your intention to do it. By doing this, you instantly make it clear to yourself and others that you’re ‘in the game’. It signifies commitment and announces to the universe ‘I’m serious about this’.

Honestly, it may sound simple but this is a fundamental and powerful first step towards realising your desired outcome. You may have heard different sayings which support this – ‘Energy flows where our attention goes’ and ‘What we focus on expands’ – or you may well have experienced the phenomenon yourself, where the act of simply stating your intentions seems to bring about opportunities to fulfill them. Intention produces focused energy and it is this you can harness and use to accelerate the achievement of your dreams and ambitions.

Adopt an open mind

If you start out convinced that finding your passion is hard or an unrealistic a pipe dream, you put yourself at an immediate disadvantage. After all, how can you expect to find your passion if you don’t really believe it’s possible?

Keep an open mind and be aware of and receptive to all those little signs, nudges and signals encouraging you to explore new possibilities. Be curious…. and be willing to be led by your curiosity and excitement.

Search for the clues

The thing to remember is this – your ‘passion’ is already there within you! Unfortunately, it doesn’t come in box with a label on it – you have to do some detective work and start searching for clues!

Look for clues

And the best place to start is by looking back as a way of helping you move forward.

As you look back over your life, you’ll notice that certain experiences stand out – some because they were positive, experiences… when you felt really happy, fulfilled and ‘in your element’, others because they were difficult and challenging – either way, they will have had a profound impact on the course of your life. It’s these experiences which are so valuable to delve into in the search for clues and insights.

Connect the dots

Make a list of the experiences that stand out and then look within them and try to extract the essential elements that lie at their core. Don’t be despondent if at first glance it all looks like an eclectic mish-mash of disconnected bits and pieces because once you have all the pieces in front of you it’s so much easier to connect the dots and piece it all together to create something unique and new – your very own Plan P.

join the dots

For example, when I went through this process it soon became clear that I was happiest and most fulfilled when I was ‘teaching’ but NOT as a classroom teacher or as an IT trainer (although both were good for a while). When I dug deeper and looked for the essential elements that lay at their core, I discovered things like connection, community, inspiration, support and empowerment. And it’s no surprise that those elements ALL feature strongly in my work now – but without the children or the playground duties!

Who would benefit from this?

Be alert to who might want and need your newly emerging passion, and start getting to know them so you can get clearer on what and how you can serve them.

If you want to generate an income doing what you enjoy and what you’re good at, then these are the questions you need to ask this question:

  • Who would benefit from this?
  • How could you use your passion to help make other people’s lives better?
  • Whose journey could you help shorten?

Get out and mingle

Whoever said ‘isolation is a dream killer’ was spot on! Trying to find inspiration huddling over a laptop is not something that’s ever worked for me! And let’s face it, family and friends aren’t always the best people to bounce ideas off!

What DOES work for me – and what I encourage my clients to do – is to get out and about and surround yourself with people who are living examples of what’s possible. Get yourself along to networking groups and meet-ups with like-minded others. There is nothing quite so encouraging, inspiring and energising as being in the company of those who are out there doing the very things you aspire to do – after all, if they can do it, so can you!

Be courageous!

What’s courage got to do with it you might ask. Well, when you find your passion and decide to follow it, you will, sooner or later (probably sooner!) come up against something with the power to stop you dead in your tracks! And that something is your own resistance. And it will offer you all kinds of ‘reasons’ why you shouldn’t, couldn’t or mustn’t set off on this journey.

So yes, it takes courage to embrace fear and uncertainty and to take the leap of faith required to follow your passion but remember, the world needs you in it doing the thing that brings you joy and lights you up…. that’s exactly what this world needs from you.  And there’s a you-shaped hole out there that desperately needs to be filled.

Need a helping hand to find your passion?

Still grappling to find a sense of direction so you can start creating something compelling for your personal and professional future? Check out details of the Inspiration Incubator (including a free preview!) – a transformational home-study course designed to actively help you explore and clarify a vision of what’s possible for you.