By Kate Maria Pennell
How to empower ourselves one step at a time.
We love the big success stories don’t we? Especially the overnight ones where someone wrote a blog post and it went so viral that there is now a vaccine for it; or a youngster designed an app and now they’re a 13-year-old millionaire.
“Think big, 10X your dreams…”
“Go hard or go home”
“5 keys to success that will transform your life”
These promises of big-time success are everywhere (these are a few I’ve seen just this week alone, and it’s only Wednesday).
We want the big results—now—and while these stories and hacks can be encouraging, they can distract us from the fact that sustainable growth doesn’t happen in the macro, but rather in the micro-world.
The sneaky thing about growth is that we can only see it after it has happened.
During the process, the change is so small that we can miss it. How many of us have heard, “Haven’t you grown!” from aunties and family friends? I remember meeting up with a friend back from university; she kept looking at me until she finally said, “There’s something different about you.” I’d been going through a period of intense inner change and it was now showing on the outside.
Healthy growth is incremental; it happens in small steps one after another. We don’t always see the growth ourselves as we’re just getting on with the business of growing!
In contrast, when we are over-attached to the result and excessively focus on measuring our growth it can cause all kinds of anxiety and knock our confidence. It’s great to review our progress—because what is tracked can be improved—but to obsess over it is detrimental to our peace of mind and in turn our productivity.
Furthermore, what is interesting about overnight successes is that, often times, they were not prepared for the results. Therefore, they did not have the structures in place to continue to maximize the momentum of that initial growth. Benjamin Hardy, Ph.D. (a top writer on Medium.com) confessed that when he wrote the article that propelled him into the Medium (and internet) spotlight, he didn’t even have a subscriber list in place to funnel all his would-be fans. Whoops, that’s Writer 101.
How do we grow our social media tribe? One article or post at a time.
How do our sales increase? One customer at a time.
How does our health improve? One healthy meal or one exercise set at a time.
How does our personal development deepen? One meditation or page in a journal at a time.
How do we expand our knowledge and understanding? One class, one video, or one page in a book at a time.
How do we fall in love? One thought, one moment at a time.
How do we sustain a relationship? One act of intentional connection at a time.
Exponential growth always starts with incremental growth; it’s step-by-step rather than a growth explosion. As you build, the steps just look bigger to the observer.
When working with clients, one of the first things I do is to encourage them to expand their vision and get really clear on what it looks like. That’s the macro. But in terms of strategy and implementation, it is always the smallest micro step followed by the smallest step.
Our focus is on the present, where the real action happens. This way they can track their results, and it also means that the progress is sustainable. They are harnessing the power of the compound effect; each little win provides the basis for the next, creating exponential growth.
The thing with the exponential growth curve is that, for a while, things look the same as they did before. For example, I work out but my body looks the same or I work at my projects but the social engagement/client/finance numbers don’t seem to change.
This is the point where we must remember that the growth is happening at the cellular level—we can’t see it happening. It is the point of faith in the nature of progress, the point where we must not give up. Only when we look back after some time can we see the difference and the results.
The great thing about implementing change at this cellular level is that it avoids the feeling of being overwhelmed and feels much more within our control. Essentially, it empowers us. While we have the future in mind, our focus is on the present where the real action happens.
And our question is, “What can I do today?”
Kate Pennell, English and slightly geekish, is a coach and dream catalyst who lives in Spain with three kids, various furry creatures and a patient husband. She loves nature, creativity and seeing people discover what truly makes them come alive. Kate provides the people she works with permission to launch and helps them begin to fly as they were made to. She teaches, encourages and connects with fellow travellers across our global village. Find out more at https://permissiontolaunch.website/.