Two years ago, I was approached by someone who had watched my journey from a seemingly comfortable and consistent job to an entrepreneurial life filled with lots of unknowns with a simple but game-changing question. “Stephanie,” he asked. “If you knew what it would have taken for you to get to where you are, would you have still done it.” My answer surprised me. “No,” I said quicker than I had time to even think about the question.
No, if I would have known how much hard work it would take to start my own business, I wouldn’t have even tried. No, if I had known that for me to write a book I would have to go through a strenuous and vulnerable editing process, I would have bowed out. No, if I had known that it would take starting a wreath business to help gain the confidence and funds I needed to write and publish my book, I would have opted for a different direction in life. No, if I knew how hard it would be to accomplish what I have done, I likely would never have taken the first step to do it.
Now, I can’t imagine a world without the freedom that writing provides me. I can’t imagine a life without the ability to inspire and empower others. I can’t imagine not having the chance to work with such varied authors and businesses across the country to help them bring their messages to those who need it most. I just can’t imagine what life would have been like now if I had known the hardships and not taken the first step anyway.
Reflect on your own life. If you would have known how hard it would be to raise children, would you have been open to growing your family? If you would have known how hard it is to train for a marathon, would you have ever taken the first lap? If you would have known how challenging it would be to manage staff, would you have ever dreamed of being a leader?
Most times, if we knew what we know now, we wouldn’t get to where we currently are. On a recent podcast, I shared an analogy I’ve come to realize is my truth. I’ve always imagined my goals as a mountain peak. The snow-covered beauty is high up, where the air in thinner and the ground hard to get your feet set upon. The goal sits there where only the most dedicated ever reach.
People say, keep your eyes on the prize … I say, keep your eyes on your feet. If you want to scale the mountain to meet your end goal destination, there is only one thing you can do … move. Take steps. Keep walking in the direction of your goal. Don’t worry about the tree limbs that will fall along your journey for when you meet that hurdle, you will figure out a way around it. Don’t worry about the moments when your feet get stuck in mud for, as with all things, the mud will dry up and then you will be able to move yet again.
Know that the mountain exists and then stop looking up high. Instead, look a few feet in front of you … right where your next step will land. Keep your eyes on your feet. Focus on the steps you take. For when you do, you will one day look up and realize that you have reached the peak. And, you may find, that that mountain of a goal you had was really a single mountain in a chain with continuous related goals that, at one time, felt so far out of reach. But, by then, you will have learned that if you keep your eyes on your feet, you are more likely to reach your end goal destination.
No, had I known how many twists and turns my journey to the peak would be I would have likely stopped. Don’t let the mountain peak be daunting in your life. Instead, focus on what is within your span of control — right here and right now – and make a promise to yourself each day to just keep moving. Onward and upward, my friends!