When you stop and think about it, one decision is all it takes. The list of what that decision might have been or
“You’re always only one decision away from a totally different life”unknown
I really like that quote as it does ring true for myself and probably many of you. Well, at least the thought that a decision we made previously might have led us down a different path which then causes us to stop and think. However, other times it is something small that came and went. In fact every day you are faced with some sort of decision that will lead you to the path you are today and not to the path you maybe could be on.
One of the reasons I like that quote above is circling back to the life you want. You might think things haven’t turned out like you had hoped it would or you wish you would have done something different in your past. I am as guilty as the next person and I keep going back to things I maybe should have done or shouldn’t have done. I am trying to get away from that as it isn’t really healthy as you never really know what would have happened because you might have still chosen a different path again and been worse off.
Small Steps Forward
If you think about that quote again and think of it as making life choices to move towards a goal you would like. What is a small step you could take to move yourself to where you would like to be? You just need to start changing habits or creating habits that will move you to your life goal. That is the best place to start instead of thinking about what you might have missed out on because of the choices you made.
While writing this I was reminded of a video Anthony Ongaro at Break the Twitch published which ties in nicely with this topic and is called One Small Change That Creates Massive Results. Check it out and follow his work for more great nuggets of information.
How has it worked for me?
For me personally, I tried to do this last year and I will say for 9 months of this year I failed at the approach of small steps as I was taking too many small steps in too many different areas of my life which resulted in ZERO changes. However, about 2 months ago I spent some time really thinking about what I wanted my future to look like. Not necessarily the big dream future as I have always tried to think about it previously but just looking out a couple months to a year for things like family vacations, job, and fitness.
Fitness and vacation goals were easy to think about but the execution in those required focus on a day in and day out basis. This is where breaking those things down into little bits I could tackle has really paid dividends. Really it was making small decisions of prioritizing if I wanted to move to my goals of vacation and fitness or put my resources (time/money) into something else.
For careers, this is a more difficult task as it isn’t something that can be changed instantly as you are more than likely not going to quit your job today and hope for the best. For me this probably too a lot more energy thinking about as I know what I am doing today isn’t necessarily what I want to be doing in 5-10 years from now. So instead of just trying to shoot for the stars now I had to think about what is either holding me in my current role or preventing me from getting into another role or similar role at another company. The answer was easier than I thought but one that is often times hard to feel like you can accomplish… Money and Experience!
This is where starting to take small steps today like saving more money as changes in careers might have you moving from a higher salary to a lower one initially. So making sure you can have more in the bank and in turn live off less will help make that move more achievable when the opportunity presents itself.
Gaining more experience can be more challenging depending on if you are changing careers or just wanting a similar role at another company. Either way, you probably need to get more experience or else you would already be in that new role. In both cases this can come from volunteering, experimenting on your own time, or trying to see if you can gain more skills for your next role in your current role.
As you can see from a career standpoint, it is definitely a bigger hill to climb but the process of taking small steps towards and the end goal of what you want is how you have to ultimately start it.
What keeps me moving is making sure I make decisions based on what I value or believe in as well as trying to stay positive. Knowing whatever decision I make I will own and do my best to keep the ball moving towards my goal based on my values. I know if I do that I will less likely keep wondering what if as I will have better reasons and purpose behind the path I choose.