How to take the next first step
The dim glow of the nightlight paints the room with softness. My 4-year old daughter and I are both squished into her single bed. Rainbow comforter covering only half of each of us. Her little body is like an oven. She has a fever. And I’ve promised her I’ll stay in her bed all night long.
I’m almost asleep when I hear a whisper in my ear.
Clara: “I don’t know if I want to be a mommy.”
Me: “Why’s that?”
Clara: “I don’t know how to do it.”
Me: “Well, it’s kind of something you learn as you go.”
Again, I’m nearly asleep, when she asks me a question.
Clara: “Mommy, what’s a helping hand?”
Me: “It’s just a saying. It’s when you get help from someone.”
Clara: “If I become a mom, I’m gonna ask for a helping hand.”
Me: “Sounds like a good idea.”
Little does she know, every single mom who has ever walked the planet has felt ill-prepared to take on the role.
And the moment you feel like you’ve figured something out, things shift, and change, and you’re thrown a scenario that requires you to level up.
We all feel like we’re faking it.
But adaptation is the name of the game. And as Leonardo DiCaprio once said (cue the Celine Dion), “every next level of your life will demand a different you.”
Of course you’re not prepared to be the person you’re striving to become, just yet. If you were prepared, you’d already be that person.
Over the past year, I have made some massive changes in my life. I have challenged my own status-quo and leapt off the cliff on more than one occasion.
I am a growth-minded individual. I actively seek ways to challenge my comfort zone.
I’ve come far. And yet I still have so much farther to go.
My subconscious continually fights for homeostasis. It tries to convince me that I’ve made a wrong turn, and that I need to go back. Or at least stay right where I am.
Likely because my very identity is at risk. In order to grow, I need to change. And in order to change, I need to give up who I am today. Even if in an incremental way.
I like who I am. But I need to trust that I will like who I will be, even more.
Life is a series of first steps. And if you’re at a place where you want to take the next first step in your life….whether it be in your career, your relationship, your physical health, or your spirituality….I have some advice for you, straight from the brilliant mind of a 4-year old.
Ask for a helping hand.
So often, we think of this journey we’re on as a solo mission.
But when we’re brave enough to ask for help (and risk bruising our own egos), we’re bound to notice the extended palm, just waiting to give us a boost.
There are shining stars in each of our lives. I most definitely have mine.
And over the past few months, I have learned two key lessons from some helping hands in my life.
Let go of your story (and your past)
The adage of, “what got you here, won’t get you there,” is so true. Just when everything starts to click, you hit a wall. And you’re forced to come up with a new strategy.
All the routines and processes that have served you so well, start to work against you. And you’re forced to reinvent yourself or stay stuck.
Letting go of your story is a continual process, because time does not stay still. Even who you were yesterday is different than who you are today. And clinging to the past is a surefire way to create friction with tomorrow.
Let go of your need to predict the outcome
One of the biggest reasons people do not reach the next level, is they are fixated on needing to predict the outcome.
People will stay in shitty relationships for the silliest reasons…..”well, you know, we’ve got that trip planned next month, so….” or “we go camping every summer together.” Our brains loooove predictability. And it goes against the grain of our soul to throw a wrench into something we can rely on.
In it’s purest negative form, predicting the future looks like worry and anxiety. And let me tell you, I have so often lingered in “worst case scenario thinking” just so I don’t get blindsided by it.
So what does that leave us with?
Going all in on the present. And surrounding ourselves with people who are going to help us fill in the gap, from here to there. People who will give us that helping hand, and lift us up to where it is we strive to be.
Trust that you will get to where it is you want to go. And lean on others, like stepping stones, to get there.
But just know, that sometimes the hands that help us may not be the ones we expected to help us. And we may not even find them in the places we expected to find them.
And yet still. The hands we thought would be there for us, may not be. Or it may even be that the hands that helped us get to point A….may not be the ones to get us to point B.
Be open to evolution. And ask for a helping hand.
Near, far, wherever you are.