The secret to getting ahead is getting started (Mark Twain).  Taking the very first step in any endeavor is the hardest part.  When the goal is lengthy and complicated it’s easy to become overwhelmed and immobilized.  Often when faced with a seemingly impossible task I simply start with one thing.  I try not to think past the very first thing I can do.  By focusing on the first thing, or the next step I eventually accomplish what I set out to do.  While we cannot always imagine the end result or success, we can easily see ourselves completing one thing in the process.  Whether we are motivating ourselves or encouraging others, asking “what’s the next thing to do” often helps move the process forward and bypass the incapacitating fear or doubt when the task is huge.  When my children were very young and faced with the daunting task of cleaning their rooms, I would tell them “just put away the red things”.  The children would find no problem when the task was limited to only one group of things–like red things–and would jump right in to accomplish it.  Shortly the children would report back that the task was accomplished and eagerly ask “what next”.  I would then assign another color or category which, again, was easily accomplished.  As adults, this method works with us as well.  When a task is large and creates a sense of hopelessness, simply break it down into only one management step.  Little by little we can and will successfully complete the entire project–with ease. (


Leave a Reply