You know what they say…the first few steps are always the hardest. In the wise old words of Lao Tzu’s Chinese proverb ‘the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step’; even the longest and most difficult endeavours have a starting point, you just need to take a short, simple leap. Taking the plunge and getting started is by far the hardest bit, but once it is done, the rest flows naturally and each step becomes easier.
One of the world’s bestselling self-help author (for people who wouldn’t be caught dead reading a self-help book) Karen Salmansohn, puts it rather nicely:
The first step to living the life you want is leaving the life you don’t want.
Taking the first step forward is always the hardest.
But then each step forward gets easier and easier.
And each step forward gets you closer and closer until eventually, what had once been invisible starts to be visible.
And what once felt impossible starts to feel possible.
Recently, I took the plunge.
I quit my job and booked a ticket to India to learn how to teach Yoga!
I resigned from my corporate 8 – 6, Monday to Friday highly pressured, fast-paced, cut-throat, ball-breaking job where I had worked for almost 2 years. Resigning was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do; I was so scared of what my director might say or do and how it would affect everyone else in the business. I kept worrying about what everyone else would think of me and how many people I would let down, rather than how I truly felt on the inside. However I eventually built up the courage and resigned and, of course, it was nowhere near as bad as I had envisaged. My boss was disappointed yes, but he understood when I explained that I needed to embark on my own personal journey. Besides, there’s not much you can rebut to that?
Some might ask why would I leave a well paying, highly satisfying job within a global company boasting of beautiful Sydney Harbour views from Level 53, pack up my life into boxes, sell all my furniture and belongings…to go to a third world country where people shit on the street to become a yoga teacher!?
Why…because I needed a change; a dramatic change. I felt like my job was not sustainable, in the sense that I was burning out. Sure, I could make some good money and change some peoples’ lives, but I didn’t feel as though it fulfilled me in a deeper sense. It didn’t scratch that itch. I could have just moved house, changed jobs, invested in a cat or maybe bought a convertible mini cooper (quarter-life crisis-esque), but it wouldn’t have had the same impact. I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and do something different. I wanted to make a life changing decision. I yearned to take a risk, to be brave and courageous and outrageous and do something I have always wanted to do. I wanted to take a step in a new direction, a step towards a healthier lifestyle and a better work/life balance (as annoying and far-fetching that buzz word is). All the long hours and drinking a bazillion coffees to get through the day and boozing, schmoozing and smoking can wear thin after a while…internally and externally. I decided I need to give my body a break!
If you never get started with anything, you never get anything done. Just like if you never take a risk, you will never truly experience your true life calling. Life is not meant to be easy, but once you take that little step into the unknown you will start to discover new talents and new strengths you never knew you had. You might come across road blocks, steep hills, windy paths and detours but at least you have the guts to do what other people don’t or didn’t. Although some people might think you have a couple of screws loose, the point is not to listen to what anyone else thinks. I made a conscious effort to not tell my parents or friends about what I was planning, because I wanted to be clear in my own mind about what I wanted without anyone else’s influence on my decision.
So whether it’s taking the plunge ot start up your own business, going back to university to do your masters or quitting your job to take up doing what you love, whatever it is you want to do, just take the first step….even if you’re not 100% sure. Even if it is a step in the wrong direction, the worst thing that can happen is adding a bit of spice or variety to your life, which is fine considering there is nothing worse than a boring, mundane life. Shake it up a bit – get excited by change and adventure! Here are some of my tips to get you started:
- Take a risk, and step outside your comfort zone…try and do one thing a day that scares you (big or small).
- Take the first step. Our inner strength and resilience is fuelled by taking action.
- Baby steps. The Egyptian pyramids weren’t built overnight, they built the epic structure stone by stone.
- Listen to your intuition and trust in the divine universe – put out those good energies and they will come back to you
- You’re never too old to start. Just look at Dame Elisabeth Murdoch who at 99 still had over four outings planned every week and was involved with over 100 charities.
- Don’t let other people’s opinions sway you. Stay strong, be your own rock and remain calm in the eye of the storm.
If you don’t do it now, when will you?