Life is full of transitions. Changing careers, launching a business, navigating through pandemics, dealing with the death of a loved one, and even organizing your home...these transitions can all be overwhelming at first. During times of transition, to-do lists can feel endless. You might feel bombarded by the mountains of information to sift through and absorb. Then there are the inevitable times that you will stop and question, "is this endeavor worth it?"
As I began launching my organizing business, there were many days when I felt that the lists were insurmountable and the obstacles too large. Even as an organized person. When I felt this way, there were two words that helped me calm myself down and refocus:
I chanted these words to myself each morning as I prepared to tackle another checklist item. I uttered them aloud in the kitchen, thinking about all that needed to be accomplished. They were a constant comfort.
When frustrations gummed up the works and progress came crashing to an unwelcome halt, I felt blessed when those around me whispered (or more likely admonished rather loudly), "BABY STEPS!" to remind me that everything would get done in due time. It would not happen all at once, regardless of how impatient I got.
Little Steps Lead to Big Accomplishments
My mission for the business launch was to give myself a year to get everything up and running by the time my last bird flew the nest, and I would become a "Free Bird."
You see, I wanted to avoid feeling sorry for myself due to the changes in my life, watching my kids blossom into their adult paths taking them far away. Lo and behold, I DID get it all done...and more. The Practical Sort is now in it's 5th year, and business is going strong!
The next time you take on a big project that feels daunting, like changing careers or trying to organize your home, simply close your eyes. Notice if your stomach is churning and the muscles in your back and neck tighten because you have no idea how it will all get done.
Then, say these words or keep them in the back of your mind, "Baby Steps." Repeat if necessary.
Sometimes it is best to start with a very small project or area because the pay-off will be more immediate. Your brain will experience the surge of endorphins while you admire the progress made. This can stoke your energy and motivation to keep going!
And when you find yourself in over your head, figure out how to calm down your amygdala and get back into your prefrontal cortex, the rational thinking brain. That might look like:
Believe me, I know it’s hard not to keep charging forward when every second counts in order to plow through your list before time runs out. But I also know that when we’re under the gun and not fully resourced to react, we make careless mistakes. We can get angry quickly, and we are more apt to lose the focus we need to execute effectively.
- Closing your eyes and taking a few cleansing breaths
- Do a few rounds of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Tapping
- Hold a yoga pose for a few minutes
- Take a short walk to clear the cobwebs and get re-centered
Baby steps indeed. It will all happen in due time.
Author: Sherri Curley
The Practical Sort