Inch By Inch: How Small Steps Lead To Big Success

Earlier this week, I joined a yoga studio just two minutes from my condo, and started trying out different classes. I had been using Shiva Rea and Rodney Yee DVDs at home, but I wanted to mix things up, and I wanted someone who could tell me when my elbows were pointed in the wrong direction, and who could correct my stance. I wanted someone who could adjust my pose the one iota it needed to be perfect. I wanted to achieve yoga success.

Yesterday afternoon, the instructor had us do headstands. When I admitted I hadn’t done one since I was a toddler, he rubbed his hands together with glee and had me move my yoga mat up against the wall. Then, he walked me through the setup for the position and watched as I struggled to get my legs up above my head.

“Just one more inch,” he said as I flailed about. After a few moments, I let out a surprised “Oh!” as my feet touched the wall.

I left the class feeling exhilarated by how easy it had been to do that headstand. How close I was without even knowing it.

When I got home, there was more good news in my inbox. Thanks to a quick email nudge I’d sent the week before, a lit agent that a client of mine had introduced me to via email wanted to set up a time to chat about my book proposal.

I don’t know what will come of that chat, but I feel similar to how I felt when I was attempting that headstand: So close… close enough for my feet to touch the wall.

Sometimes, people look at my business and feel frustrated that they’re not where I’m at in my writing career. The thing is, it took me over 10 years to get here, and I’m still not even where I want to be. I’m still moving forward. Inch by inch.

It took a lot of self-help books to get here. A lot of continuing education classes and post-college internships, and a lot of query letters. It took a lot of online and in-person networking and a lot of informational interviews. It took full-time and permalance jobs… small and large assignments.

It took a heckuva lot of one-sentence followup emails.

Every year, I look back and am proud of the things I’ve accomplished. But then I look forward and see how close I am to achieving the next big thing. I agonize over a query letter. I send another followup email. I attend an event. I move forward an inch.

For the longest time, I felt I wasn’t going anywhere. It felt as if my wheels were spinning. Today, I turned 31. I can see my progress. I’m excited for what’s next.

How many small steps have you taken this week to move forward that next inch?

What have you already accomplished?

What are you most proud of?

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