Do At Least One Thing…

Your morning starts with the usual goals for the day: Get project ‘A’ started, move project ‘B’ one step down the road, call Fred about the problem that came up yesterday, and so on. All of these are important goals; important in the sense that they directly relate to your job, and the work that you are doing. All of these goals are essential to your success in your present position.

However, the thought may pass through your head every now and then that none of these goals relate to who you want to become, how you want to grow, where your life needs to change, or how you are preparing yourself for the future.

If you are one of the lucky people who find themselves being and doing exactly what is right for you, you can probably skip the rest of this blog post.

But, if you are like most people, you have room to grow, ways to improve, and much to accomplish before you reach nirvana.

For the majority of us there are a couple of things that, if done effectively, can create a turning point in our career, and our personal life. These things are:

  • Learning about yourself, who you are, who you want to be, and what is necessary to move yourself to your desired future. (Kevin Cashman’s book Leadership From the Inside Out is a great friend and resource while you make that journey.)
  • Every day do at least one thing that moves you toward becoming/being who you want to be.

Simple concepts? Yes, maybe too simple for some. But, the execution of these steps takes some work and dedication.

The good news is that this dedication to improving, and investing in yourself pays huge dividends for the rest of your life.

You might say “That’s a great idea. I’ll start tomorrow.” And, to that I would say “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.” (From The Music Man, by Meredith Wilson)

Start today. Put on your daily planner (along with Project A and Project B) to do one thing every day that moves you toward being who you want to be. Take the first step.

The first step for many will be to begin to get clear on exactly who you want to be, and what you want to do with the rest of your life. Some of you will be able to work this out for yourselves by devoting a little quality time to thinking over the question, either alone or with family or friends. Others may want to consider getting a little help from a coach or mentor who can ask some meaningful questions. Either way, get started! (See the footnote above regarding Leadership From the Inside Out)

Then, every day take one action, devote time to one thought, have one conversation, introduce yourself to one person who can help, read one article, tell one other person what you are doing, or focus a few minutes on your future.

Your journey of a thousand miles begins with that first step.

Before you realize what has happened, you will find that your feet are on a slightly different path; one that leads to a better destination.

Good luck on your journey.


For those who might be interested in a little reading on this subject, you might find David Whyte’s book Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity very interesting. Whyte describes his journey from his job as a marine biologist to his dream of becoming a poet in a way that will give heart to all who have a passion for making both life and work meaningful.

Original post

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Jim Elliott

Hello Andrew. Thanks for dropping by the blog. I have learned a lot from both Cashman and Whyte. I had the pleasure of meeting David Whyte several years ago at a conference where he was a keynote speaker. He is a very inspiring and intelligent fellow. Hope you have time to take a look at what Cashman and Whyte have written.

Crystal Gottfried

Thanks for the blog, Jim. Years ago, I read a phrase, “visualize what you want and get it.” Since I’m not magical, I learned to write down what I wanted to achieve. Looking at my goals written on paper was one way to visualize and achieve.

Martha Garvey

I’m a big fan of a saying I learned in the book Shift.

“Shrink the Goal.” (meaning, don’t abandon a goal, make your steps very, very, very small to get a sense of achievement).

And, from a lovely Japanese movie about a woman who reignites her marriage and finds a calling when she returns to her honeymoon spot–Ping Pong Bathhouse (name of the movie and the place).

“To continue is to succeed.”

Jim Elliott

I love that one! I may steal if for future use. Thanks.

And, that is exactly the point. When we look at the goal all by itself, it can seem overwhelming. But, we can usually see how to take one small step in the right direction.