Taking the 1st step...
Many of us are familiar with the old Chinese proverb:
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
But do we not think this statement is a little scary? I certainly do.
I know it’s the one power we have to move ourselves in the right direction. But 1,000 miles?
That’s way too many miles.
The path to success
I now want you to ask yourself the following question. And really have a think about your answer.
What first steps can you make today that will allow you to get started on the thing you really want in life?
I'd like to share a first step I took in 2017, and how it led me to falling in love again with a childhood pursuit.
What I’m going to share with you below is how one small step led to me rekindling a lost passion, making new friends and getting back into shape after years of neglect.
Right. Story time.
When I was growing up in West Sussex as a teenager, the one thing my friends and I would do almost every day over the summer was ride our mountain bikes. I fell in love with Mountain bike trials and was also pretty good at it.
Sadly, after leaving college I went straight into work. That’s when my world got busier and busier. I rode to the shops a few times. But, in the end, I stopped. I stopped for 20 years.
Every once in a while I used to think “I should get another bike soon. You weren’t half bad. You definitely need the exercise!”.
Then I dismissed this as a silly idea.
It was only until last year, when catching up with a friend at new his bike shop, where I spotted the most incredible looking trials bike up on the wall.
The price was annoyingly reasonable.
But I resisted the urge and left empty-handed.
Fast forward 24hrs.
I’m now back in my fiends shop fully committed.
This bike had been calling to me since my first trip to the shop. I had not ridden trials in 20 years. I now found myself with this burning desire to ride again.
I had absolutely no idea where I could ride in London, but figured there was only one thing I could do. I could buy the bike.
So I did.
And if I’m being honest, I felt a little stupid. Impulse buying an expensive trials bike after 20 years of not riding felt silly. I didn’t even know any riders my age?!
Over the next 45 days, the bike sat in my living room unridden. Every day I’d get back home, to see the bike staring me in the face.
Sometimes I'd jump on and pretend I was doing some crazy stunts like back in the day.
Most of the time I felt like the bike was mocking me saying “these stunts are all an illusion Michael. You’ll never be able to ride a bike like that again. I dare you”.
But the bike also kept me motivated to push on.
I started asking - “What’s the one next step I can take?”
I started searching for forums and groups dedicated to UK trials riding.
I stumbled across a small and enthusiastic group of like-minded (+ equally rusty) London trials riders on Facebook, so joined up and sent my first message to the group.
It’s easy once you’re motivated
One weekend later, a group of us are tearing up the streets of Islington on our bikes, hopping up curbs, jumping off benches and skidding around corners like we’re teenagers again!
I’ll never forget hopping off a high ledge for the first time 3 hours into the session.
It’s the first time in 20 years that I’ve faced a drop this size.
The next thing I know, I’m up on the back wheel and launching myself off the ledge, landing cleanly as if it were 1998.
I could hardly believe it. I was riding mountain bike trials again.
By the end of the session, I could hardly walk, let alone ride. But that bike had led me back to something that I love.
And it all started from me taking one small step.
Which leads me to a simple principle.
Buy the bike
Do something that moves you to your goal.
Get something that gets you into the game. Whatever it is the game you want to get into.
If you want to write a book, sign up for a writers retreat. Even if you’ve never written anything
If you want to change careers, sign up for an online class in the field that you want to go into
If you want to start playing a sport again, take a lesson
If you want to start public speaking, even if you haven’t done much public speaking, go to a public speaking class. Even if you make a fool of yourself the first time, just go back again.
Here’s the principle again.
Take one step - buy the bike
Before I close, I'd like you to ask yourself this - what’s one thing you’d like to do with your life right now? What’s one step you could take that would be the equivalent of what I did when I bought my trials bike?
- Michael Porter
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