One Foot In Front Of The Other
Hard to believe January 2018 has arrived and is already well on its way. Time certainly slows down for no one and each year the clock seems to spin just a little bit faster. This makes the notion to “stop and smell the roses” ever more important and it screams to be placed high on the priority list… I think I found a New Year’s resolution I would really love to pay attention to and it was spurred on in an unusual way.
My full-time employer is a manufacturing company. Due to the heavy use of machinery and equipment throughout the year, a mandatory shutdown is scheduled bi-annually in order to maintain those machines – once in the summer and once over the Christmas holiday. Most of the employees are required to use vacation during these shutdowns so I was fortunate enough to spend a quiet week at home with my family after Christmas.
During that time, two of my beautiful young nieces introduced me to a song called “One Foot” by Walk The Moon which they had creatively choreographed. It’s definitely a fun song with a catchy tune and it had me wanting to dance along with them. Of course, I have now had the chorus stuck in my head for two solid weeks! But there is one part of the chorus that has dug its talons into my mind – “one foot in front of the other”.
It got me reflecting and looking at how I go through life. Do I go through it one step at a time or do I try to jump ahead skipping critical moments? I needed a reminder that life’s journey is fluid. The future is ever changing. Similar to a mirage, we think we know what our mind’s eye sees ahead of us, but the closer we get to it, that image fades and reality comes into focus. Trying to speed toward the goal on the express track can not only possibly have us missing the mark, but leaves no time to fill ourselves with valuable input - information that will shape us, guide us, and ultimately provide the building blocks to sustainable change.
How much time is wasted chasing something that is too nebulous or completely outside of our intended best self? That’s not to say that large goals shouldn’t be set and dreamt of. In fact, we should make it priority to dream big, think outside our proverbial box, and challenge ourselves to excel. These goals are meant to give us a positive trajectory – but it is possible the end result may not turn out quite as envisioned. That’s why it’s important to break up the big picture into achievable stepping stones.
Taking one foot in front of the other signifies continual forward motion. Always keep moving toward the destination. But rather than it being 50 miles away, choose closer and intermittent rest stop. Focus on the next step and the next step, rather than jumping on the high speed train to advance to the end. The periodic stopping points will leave space to reflect on what has happened, how you have grown through it, and refocus on where the next stop will be.
These stepping stones are opportunities to celebrate the successes and achievements as well as learning from mistakes and shortfalls. Slow down and absorb. Take in your surroundings. Be present. The importance of being fully immersed in the relationships, conversations, and situations surrounding you cannot be stressed enough. These moments fill our reserves with the encouragement, information, and beauty we need to continue on our journey.
As we carry on with our adventures, we should realize the ever-changing circumstances and unknown scenarios that will inevitably influence our travels. The end goal may need to be adjusted or, if needed, scrapped for a new goal. We can’t and shouldn’t blindly pursue the mirage - stay flexible and alert so the current doesn’t carry us away. Slow down. Soak it in. Stay focused, but allow for adjustments. Go through it placing one foot in front of the other and enjoy the walk.