steppingstonesNo one who does great things started off doing great things in the beginning. Instead, they used steppingstones to get where they are today. If you have a big dream in life but can’t possibly see how you’ll get there, take heart. There are steppingstones that can help get you there.

At Simply Great Lives, John and I offer seminars, individual and group coaching, public speaking, a book, a blog, and soon a call-in talk radio show (that’s new–we’ll tell you more about it as it gets closer). It’s taken years for us to get to doing these things. We’ve done smaller things that allowed us to grow into doing these bigger things.

I first became aware of this idea a little while ago as we were getting ready for our first online Life Impact Academy 101: Shift. I was anxious all day–it was very uncomfortable. I shared about it over dinner and my youngest son was baffled. He pointed out that we’d been interviewed on a live radio show, been on live TV and been on a podcast. We’d done the live seminar in person before and we did a webinar series years ago. Why was I so stressed out?

When he put it that way, I felt a little silly. I had done a lot of different things to prepare me for the event. I guess the technology aspect was part of it. It was a relatively new platform for us with video on us. The participants would be able to see us, but with my low vision, I wouldn’t be able to see them. Would I be able to guide them and coach them and support them with this mechanism?

As it turns out, I can. But it was pretty scary doing something that was new and unfamiliar.

So, the fact is that doing new things is still scary. I’m told by people who are further in the journey that I am that it’s always that way.

But we can do things to make it easier and more feasible. Looking back, we can identify what we’ve done in the past that can help us with what we are wanting to accomplish now. What was similar enough to help?

In looking forward, we can break that big, scary dream or goal down into smaller steppingstones that will prepare us for what we want to ultimately do.

As an example, I looked at what it took for us to start leading seminars. It went like this:

  • We used to teach weekly lessons for youth groups and then a young adults group at our church early in our marriage.
  • We facilitated group discussions in those groups.
  • We put together weekend retreats for those groups that were mostly composed of smaller lessons strung together and contained within an over-arching theme.
  • We used the retreat setting to add extra experiential learning exercises.
  • I received training on facilitating groups and working with individuals in my master of social work program.
  • I facilitated a support group as part of my master’s degree internship.
  • When we started Steam Engine Financial Coaching, we started coaching people which was pretty much educating people one-on-one and worked with then to problem-solve.
  • We started budgeting workshops to cut down the amount of time needed to teach about budgeting.
  • When we transitioned to Simply Great Lives, we wrote a book to hash out the process we wanted to guide people through.
  • We did a webinar to teach people about the steps to living a calling.
  • We keep hashing out new ideas and our understanding by writing our blog.
  • We finally made the leap last December to do our first seminar to guide people to get clear on their passion and how they wanted to use it to make a difference in people’s lives.
  • We always evaluate how a seminar went and make adjustments to it to keep making it better.

That’s a lot of steppingstones. That list was a little longer than I expected. The point, though, is that there a lot of steps on a long journey. If you want to do something big to make a difference in people’s lives, it may take a while and some persistence. Break it down into manageable chunks where you are learning what you need to learn and gaining the experience you need. These are valuable steppingstones that will get you where you want to go. And, remember that it is normal for a new steppingstone to feel uncomfortable as you are stretching yourself and growing who you are as a person. But the satisfaction of making that difference is so worth it!


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