No. 27 – One Small Step

No. 27 – One Small Step

Dear One,

The intention here is to share wisdom nuggets, gleaned from others wiser than I, which aided my traversing challenge to an improved other side such that these may be aids to you.

My offering here is ‘One Small Step.’

When a situation feels rather unnavigable, sabotaging thoughts can press; will I really make it through?  Yes.  It is possible.  One Small Step at a time.

During dark days, fear felt paralyzing.   Perfectionism created dust storms in my mind and hollered, Fix. It. All. Now.  The sensation of sinking into quickly drying concrete wasn’t so pleasant…  Ahem.  

Overwhelmed and confused, achieving small tasks – let alone an enormous goal of wellness, wholeness, and peace – felt, well, near to impossible.

The Chinese proverb’s suggestion that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with One Step” seemed daunting.

However, in distress, I considered the concept of taking One Small, achievable Step followed by another after a sage I knew and author James Clear in Atomic Habits suggested it worked. 

With doubt, I experimented with Small Steps:

• A 5-word caring text with someone I missed or a 2-minute phone call to a dear one to increase connections,

• Taking a one-day break from social media – followed by another day and then yet another day – and reaching out to folks in real time instead,

• Reading one page – or, even, a paragraph or a sentence – of a book about success, spirituality, Stoicism, healing, or anything I felt may assist, and

• Praying or meditating a few sentences or a minute at a time and building up in itty bitty increments that feel easy.

The One Small Step approach felt do-able so I kept at it.  

No real satisfaction nor apparent progress occurred immediately for me.  Sigh.  However, just taking One Small Step felt like Something.

Confidence Incrementally, imperceptibly increased as I kept taking itty bitty Actions in the direction I hoped to go; glimmers of connection, insight, and calm arrived.  Hope began to float.

Via One Small Step, after another Small Step, with consistent yet not monumental effort, beliefs and behaviors s-l-o-w-l-y shifted. 

By linking Small Steps to daily tasks, habits formed.  I Chose to, for example, read a quote of encouragement while teeth brushing, listen to 7 to 10 minutes of a book on Audible during showers – by cracking shower door and placing end of phone just inside door to prevent dousing it, and play part of an enlightening podcast during dinner prep.

James Clear, habits guru, describes more about how little Steps can form good habits in his article here.

Progress snuck up on me; it started to pile up.  Thankfully.

When I missed or belly flopped, initially perfectionism blasted and, yeah, I’d perhaps wallow a bit or just let it be.  I might Pause, Pray/Meditate, Wait, go Silent while aiming to Accept that I am a work in progress.  Then, begin again or try another Small Step. 

Practicing or leaning in to Imperfection and taking uncertain or awkward Steps – which may or may not have benefit – sometimes helped as it was taking a wee Step and risk, for a potential gain.  Starting can get momentum, even a tiny bit, going.

And – the Tanzanian Proverb – little by little, a little becomes a lot dawned as Truth for me.

Eventually, and with thanks to the Divine, healing rose, more wisdom arrived – with space for plenty more, and, increasingly, peace reigned more of the time.

It was, and is, a relief really that big stuff is wee actions done regularly which accumulate over time.  Kinda amazing.

With One Small Step after One Small Step, traversing challenge is possible.  Maybe even, probable.

I deeply believe in your ability to One-Small-Step-it, in line with your heart’s desire, potentially, to your other – even better – side. 



Original Email Date:  November 21, 2020

Click to listen to audio podcast of above post