We all have a creative spirit within. No matter the form or size, we also have a spirit to leave a positive legacy. Too often, both go untapped, and it is because we ignore the Law of the First Step.
Simply Take the First Step
The Law of the First Step is simple. Without taking the first step, you will never achieve what is possible. The first step can be straightforward. If you want to write a novel, then you need to take the step of beginning to write. If you want to create a new program, then you need to begin to sketch how it would work. The first step moves you forward.
Now, the first step could be the last step. For some, distraction or discouragement sidetrack their work – the worst type of last steps. For others, it may be that the first step did not feel right yet something is learned and a new direction determined. The corollary Law of the First Step is that first steps are nearly endless, and there should always be new first steps to take.
When we take the first step, and subsequent steps, we also can feel that we are inadequate or question if anyone would show up for our quest. Many of those feelings are normal. We question ourselves. We second-guess. We are not sure if we are up for it. Again, these are natural feelings in the Law of the First Step. Within these feelings, we need to remember the spirit of what we want to create or innovate and then boulder on.
Related to this point is that we cannot look too often in other lanes of comparison. Others are doing their work. While we can learn from their efforts, their work is not our work. We need to appreciate what they are doing and where they are at in their progress. Meanwhile, we need to stay focused on who we are and what we are doing. We cannot get stuck in a “they are doing better than I am” comparison.
When we push forward, one of two things happen. First, we learn, adjust, and stay committed. Like a good novel, we are unsure about how it will end, but we keep reading. Second, we begin to scale up to the scale of the idea or project. Like the running uphill, eventually, we get to point where we feel the momentum in our movements. The hills begin to roll, allowing us to gain momentum, catch our breath, and keep going.
No magic is required, mostly because there is nothing magical about it. Magic does not happen without effort. Nothing is effortless, an added dimension to the Law of First Steps. Our efforts produce outcomes, and our outcomes produce realizations about our work, mission, life, purpose, behaviors, and talents. We surprise ourselves. We delight others. We become a complete human.
I believe an added dimension to the Law of the First Step realizes that it is not all about self. The self-element of the first step is that we are pursuing our purpose, but our purpose is bigger by who learns something from our work. First steps tap into our meaning, and our meaning is the whole pie, not just a slice. We can never let our first steps be just about ourselves. We need to look ahead and think about who may gain something positive from our work.
In looking ahead and in the rearview mirror, we see it is not a straight-line march from the first step – another component to the Law of First Steps. Our first step is straight ahead, but after the first step, our next ones may zig and zag. Nothing filled with purpose is a straight shot. We do not know everything when we first start. If we think we do, we are more likely to fail. As we take our steps forward, we need to be open to learning and adjusting while avoiding pitfalls and tuning our direction. A zig-zag motion is still a movement forward.
Although mentioned earlier, it is worthwhile to add an angle to the Law of First Steps that says ensure your steps are not creating ruts. We cannot afford to be in a rut. We need to step out of it and ensure our steps are fresh in learning, engaging, and growth. Imagine riding a mountain bike in a well-worn path, and the ruts are high. If your tire strays a little, you hit a barrier and get thrown. I know. I have experienced it. Ensure your steps are not putting you into a position of digging a rut that will eventually throw you. Keep your path fresh.
The Law of the First Step
Create and innovate are verbs that require first steps to understand what is possible and realize outcomes improbable before. The Law of First Step welcomes the following:
- Take the first step with confidence and curiosity
- Keep taking the first steps to find the right path and insights
- Focus on your lane, avoiding over-comparison to what others are doing
- Remember your purpose is bigger than just you
- Prepare for the zig-zags, caring for self while learning and pursuing
- Recognize the ruts and step up and out to keep your work fresh in learning and spirit
Godspeed in your first step (and mine).
Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash