This thought came to me this weekend in Central Oregon, while peering up at the summit of South Sister mountain which towered overhead at 10,358 feet. And was my hiking destination that day.
It sure looked a long way up there, and as someone not particularly fond of heights, my palms started sweating at the sheer steepness I was going to be going up very soon. It seemed darned near impossible, that summit.
But off we went. Slowly. Mind-bendingly and achingly slowly.
Along the way, we leapfrogged an older gentleman with his daughter several times in the hours it took to get up there. We smiled and joked about repeatedly passing each other. The last time we saw each other, he breathed upon passing: “One step in front of the other. That’s how you’ll get there.”
When I finally crested the summit of the crater rim, I realized that my success in achieving this seemingly impossible goal was the sum of many steps and how far I moved my foot. It was good to look up to see the goal, but the true distance was what I actually achieved in moving my foot. Each step, and step by step.
It seemed like a snail’s pace, but every step I moved forward, I incrementally pushed myself forward and upward. And it was a way to get ahead towards my goal.
When moving our careers forward, the analogy is clear: It’s great to have a goal / destination in mind, but true success comes from what we do on a daily basis that adds up to the sum of our action steps.
What are you doing today that moves you one step closer to your career goals?
How do you plan to get ahead?
How are you thinking of the future yet acting in the moment?
Too many times, we focus on the bigger picture, but forget about the tiny steps it takes to get there.
Case in point: I got an email from someone the other day that illustrates that point. She wants to apply for higher-level positions, but keeps getting rejection letters because she isn’t quite qualified with enough years of experience.
For her, it boils down to simply of putting time into her career, and making that slow grind towards the top. She has a goal, but it’s all the steps it takes to get there that is what she needs to be concentrating on to make it all add up.
We will all get ahead, if we are willing to make the effort that it takes to put one foot in front of the other.
The sweetest rewards in life are only achieved when we are willing to put in the effort required in attaining them!