I was having breakfast with my husband the other morning when I noticed something odd on the table. At first, it looked like a little stick or piece of dirt, but then it start to slowly move. I realized that it was an inchworm. This little traveler probably hitched a ride with the summer flowers that I picked from the garden.
After observing the little creature for a few minutes, I was amazed at the progress he was making. He moved so slowly and cautiously, yet he managed to get himself across the dining table. He was under a high level of stress with two giant humans watching his every move. Yet, he made significant progress.
Realizing that this was a lesson in the making, I grabbed my camera to capture the moment. The creature must have been camera shy because as soon as I starting shooting, he froze. It wasn’t until my husband started to play the piano that the inchworm began to move. Playing around with my Camtasia video software, I created this short video which I posted on YouTube. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if it went viral?
In observing the pattern of movement by this fascinating little creature (note: inchworm is the name for the larvae of moths of the family Geometridae), I realized that there are four steps involved in making slow and steady progress. It’s funny how nature can be such an amazing teacher if we only pay attention to it.
- Contemplation. You need to give yourself time to reflect, to consider, and to evaluate what you want in your work and life. What options are available to you? How do they align with your values and priorities? Why are they important to you? What risks and rewards are involved? What does your head tell you to do? What does your heart tell you to you? Be patient and allow your thoughts and feelings to ferment and integrate. It will be time well spent.
- Make Your Move. At some point, you must make a move. You cannot stay in the analysis phase forever. Ultimately, this becomes “paralysis by analysis.” You must choose a path and take your first steps. This will require action and risk taking on your part. Go for it.
- Stretch Yourself. Now that you have safely made your first move, you can see and feel the rewards of action. So it’s time to stretch yourself and see what you are capable of. Get out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. Reach further and farther. See where it takes you.
- Keep Moving. Your job is now to keep moving forward. Keep taking those steps, even if they are baby steps. Every step forward is a demonstration of progress. You are learning, growing, reflecting, experimenting, getting feedback. If you make a mistake (and no doubt you will), you can self-correct. But you will keep on moving forward. Procrastination is no longer an issue. You feel the excitement and joy of forward momentum. Progress is being made.
Your Networking Tip for the Week
Think about a networking goal that you have set for yourself or that you have been considering for awhile. Perhaps you want to join a group, or meet a person of influence who could help you advance your business, career or organization. What move could you make this week to initiate progress? Perhaps a phone call or some sort of outreach. Now, stretch yourself and think bigger. Perhaps you could arrange to attend an event where this person is likely to be? Maybe you could ask someone to introduce you or to arrange a 3-way lunch. These ideas should “scare” you because they are pushing you out of your comfort zone. Once you have successfully completed that bold move, you are ready to try again. Fuel yourself with courage and determination. Know that every small step you take is a step towards your own progress. Like the inchworm, you will get there. Sitting still forever is not a recipe for success.
“Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be”. – Khalil Gibran