You know you want to do something different with your life, something bold, but you don’t know how to get started. The world seems so big and scary outside your comfort zone. You are bombarded with “what ifs?” before you even get started. What if I make a mistake? What if three years from now I find out this was a bad idea? What if I never make any money?
How do you find the courage to keep going? How do you make that first step now, when you are paralyzed with worry about obstacles down the road that you can’t even see?
Stop looking at the big picture. Start focusing on the small view in front of you.
Last summer my family and I boarded a cruise ship for a Caribbean cruise. While this was the first time for us all to be on a cruise ship together, it wasn’t the first time we had cruised these waters together as a family. From 2007 to 2011, we sailed different parts of the Caribbean on our own sailboat Alegria. We encountered rough seas, long night passages, but nothing very scary. The ocean always seemed a bit small and cozy from the cockpit of our 38-foot catamaran.
But as we stood on the deck of the cruise ship, and looked at the vastness of the ocean, we were taken aback. The ocean was huge. It was easy to get lost. There was nothing out there. When we stood on cruise ship deck at night it was even more apparent. We couldn’t see anything. The darkness seemed overwhelming. If there were any other boats out there, especially a 38-foot sailboat like ours, we wouldn’t see them. How had we ever made it across in our tiny boat?
I said to my husband, “You know, if we had taken a cruise before our trip and I saw how big the ocean looked, I’m not sure I could have sailed on it ourselves without being terrified.”
He nodded in agreement.
To put things in perspective:
The cruise ship was 1004 feet in length. Our sailboat was 38-feet long.
Standing on the top deck of the ship the water was at least 12 stories below us. When we stood in the cockpit of our sailboat, the ocean was only 4 feet below us.
The cruise ship was navigated by a highly trained, experienced captain and a highly competent staff. Our boat was captained by my husband and I, two newbies with no open sailing experience.
If you add this up, the ocean should have appeared tame on the cruise ship but terrifying on our small boat. But it didn’t. Later, I figured out why.
On our sailboat, we were low in the water, so we couldn’t see very far ahead of us, certainly not as far as we could on the cruise ship. At night, we primarily relied on our radar to see and that gave limited us a limited range of view. That was fine. All we really needed to see was what was close to us. We didn’t need to see how big the ocean was; we only needed to worry about what was around us. We didn’t need a cruise ship size view, only a small sailboat view.
Think about this in your own life. You want to try something new, but it seems so overwhelming. There is so much to do, where do you start? There is so much to learn, how do you find the time? I see where I want to be a few years down the road, but how do I get there?
Stop taking the cruise ship view and start taking the sailboat view. You don’t need to know exactly how you are going to get where you are going, you just need a good general direction. Once you have that, get started. Don’t worry about things further down the road that you can’t control now.
Don’t worry about things further down the road that you can’t control now. Focus your attention on what you need to complete the next step on your journey.
You don’t need to see or plan for all the things in the future that might or might not happen. You need to put one foot in front of the other, stay in the moment, and control what’s right in front of you.
How will you focus on the sailboat view today?