top of page

Top 5 Ways To Take That 1st Big Step - Even If It's Scary

Great news in that you've figured out WHAT you want and hopefully you've started creating the plan and support structure to ensure you can start taking the steps and actually progress toward WHAT you want to get to. So what is the big first or next step you have to take to start really making strides forward?

These steps can be scary but I'll share my thoughts here on how they can be overcome and my top 5 ways to take that first big step to ensure making progress toward your dream….your NEXT.

OK It is time! You're figuring it out that you want something different and even if 100% clear yet on your ultimate goals, destination or next stop, you know you're going to make some changes. Hopefully you've spent time thinking through and either envisioned or sketched out enough of your next 1-2 key goals and have a somewhat clear path toward accomplishing and you're excited….you feel as though you're on your way - you're pumped and you're ready!

Here we go!

Oh wait…..what happened? You paused for a moment and something changed. Your head engaged and possibly your insecurities took over. You may feel overwhelmed, doubtful and downright scared. Why is that? Why can it be so scary? And why do we let these fears - even if irrational - either hold us back or stop us I our tracks all together?

I don't know about you but I was raised with certain principles and ideals that serve me well most of the time but then can end up as one of the ways you're standing in your own way. Like the thinking that you need to work for a company instead of break out on your own. That you need a "steady income." Or that what you're pursuing can only be considered a "hobby" or side activity to your "serious career."

You could have other self induced, irrational roadblocks like "you're too old to do X" or "you're too far down one career path and have too much experience to give that up." You could have self doubt that you're either not good enough, not prepared enough or don't want it enough. You can even have fear of the unknown. "What if I can't figure it out?"

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Suzy Kassem

Many people will unfortunately stop here. It starts getting harder. I've shared stories in previous podcasts of standing in my own way or the problem with avoiding the dream and procrastinating all together. The NOT making a choice is a choice and the consequences of inaction.

It's much easier to just dream it - like winning the lottery - but it's not realistic and actually takes time, dedication, focus and many other verbs to achieve. But rarely, if ever, do very successful happy people talk about how they just dreamt it and it came true….poof….like someone waved a magic wand.

So, can this be overcome or circumvented? Of course it can! Now I could I just put my feet up and leave the vision in the "dream" category. If I had followed this path after leaving my corporate role, I'd never be speaking with you today in this podcast and I would not have spent time investing in my NEXT career and life path.

I've had many scary moments that slowed down my first step and I share a story in my book about joining a new swim team that had many swimmers there faster than me and who went on to represent the US in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

I have had reservations about going to a new business networking group event, not knowing anyone, and how much easier it felt it would be at the time to instead never get out of my car or just stand in the corner eating from the buffet table ignoring everyone.

I had reservations about one of my first big hikes and for those who have heard my stories, almost all of my learning to mountain bike at such an mmmhmmm advanced age, include me being scared or intimidated to take the first step.

But facing this scary step is necessary and it will make you stronger and more confident each time you get out of that comfort zone and get into attack or "go for it" mode. What's the worst that can happen? You "fail?" What is failure anyways and who said it isn't valuable at this stage in your life. Yes, investing and no recouping $10k is not what anyone is seeking but most of the time, that level of "fail" doesn't happen. If you're talking about what YOU really want, have researched it well, and have minimized unnecessary risk, you are most likely going to have minor setbacks or disappointments. But at the end of the day, I'm still willing to give it a shot versus spend another day in committee meeting after committee meeting to advance someone else's goals.

To make it less scary, write down your reservations or hesitations and what you can do about them. It will take this from the emotionally holding-you-back perspective and re-route into more of your brain telling you it's not so bad and helping you realize it's do-able. Again, if you keep living each day avoiding what you really want, you'll look back with disappointment, having never even tried to get there. Get to what YOU say YOU want.

You've now got your vision and your plan and I have successfully talked you around the potential self-created roadblocks or detours. Whew!

Now, to get back to the big question of How to take that scary first step. It's not rocket science but it can be uncomfortable. This discomfort isn't always bad and it might just be a symbol of personal growth. WUT? There's value in the discomfort?! Yep….so here are my Top 5 Ways You Can Take the First Big Step:

  • Don't overcomplicate it. Keep each step small and do-able. KISS principle.

  • Have your plan visible (i.e. on refrigerator or bathroom or workspace) so you see the first key steps clearly every day and consider adding a countdown

  • Meditate daily, seeing yourself accomplishing the steps and achieving what you want - then go for it when ready!

  • Get a nice push! Ask a friend or family member to join you in the commitment or to support you in yours

  • Close your eyes, commit to 90 seconds of bravery, take a deep breath and step forward - oftentimes it's like Nike stating, Just Do It. Once you start, you're usually able to continue.

It meant for me, I had to drive to Boca Raton and walk into that locker room of intimidating, fast swimmers and introduce myself. I had to get out of my car at the new business networking group event, slap on a nametag and have my elevator speech ready. I had to prepare well for the hikes and just summon the courage with good positive self-talk to keep getting on the mountain bike….even when I knew it had bucked me into a bruised legged state in the past.

In each case, not only did I NOT die, but instead met new wonderful friends, learned from new business colleagues and gained an appreciation and actual LOVE of hiking and mountain biking. I thank God for the vision, for the courage and for the ability to take these steps and for letting me feel how wonderful it all is.

I invite you to lean in a bit further with us. I hope that in what I've shared so far today, you feel inspired and more confidently armed with the recommendations to ensure you take that scary first big step to advance along the path to what you're seeking. Next week I'll talk about what happens when you take that first step or two and end up in an Oh BLEEP moment and how to recover quickly. Like driving a rental car in Iceland in March when a blinding snowstorm hits…..yikes! You already know the story ending in that I survived and lived to share this lovely experience - or will next week - with you all.

I detail these ideas further in my book currently available on this site or Amazon, Destination Unknown, and I encourage you to join our free DestinationU Facebook Community and our weekly personal challenge. This week we are focused on this topic and I encourage you to download your free personal planning resource on this website to help create the first critical steps toward your vision.

So what is the first scary step you are going to take today and what will you do to ensure you actually take it?

Remember that these steps can or will be scary, but they can be overcome and you can always refer back to my top 5 ways to step toward your dream. Remember to get over yourself. Get out there and take the scary first step to get to your NEXT.


bottom of page