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“One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and spoke these words, it was transformative. It was anything but “one” or “small.” Executing that first successful U.S. mission to the moon was composed of thousands, and maybe even millions, of small steps and victories. A giant leap of this magnitude does not happen overnight; nor does it happen with broad strokes of effort. It’s the same for successful leaps in entrepreneurship.
They are always composed of many small steps and little victories. We live in a society that is always in a hurry. We also live in a business climate of public companies focused on the short-term, driven by quarterly earnings and stockholder perception of results measured in three-month increments. Layer on the highly publicized and rare success stories of the big-leap companies, such as Facebook, and entrepreneurs can adopt the mindset that the same hypergrowth and attainment awaits them, and soon. Except it doesn’t, and misplaced efforts never get traction.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, many entrepreneurs see a leap so unattainable that it doesn’t seem worth leaping at all. This is justification for the status quo. Either way, the result is often the same: a business that stands still, or worse, does not make it. We are all trying to “get there.” We have to move forward to do it. Wherever “there” is for you, it isn’t here. So how do you arrive? A guaranteed best practice is to take small steps.
I am such a believer in this, you could say I’m from the Church of Small Steps. Small steps are not an excuse for going slowly, or setting goals that are too simple, or not maximizing opportunity or not thinking big. Quite the contrary.
Having vision and setting long-term goals are paramount to success. The small steps are how you get there, and you won’t get there without them.
Each step by itself is comfortably attainable. It may not feel like a big, bold, exciting move. It may be easy to execute and neither sexy nor noteworthy, but it may be valuable to short-term progress, may make a big difference in a small way, and will definitely lead you to another step. The point being, small steps matter. Collectively, their power takes you there far faster than risking the giant leap.
Taking proactive, small steps that are aligned with the goals and strategies in your business plan accomplishes the giant leaps.
Most notable, though, is that their power brings an understanding of, and confidence in, the ability to analyze, adapt, solve problems, grow, improve and make a difference at amazing levels. This power grows the belief that nothing is insurmountable, because it’s not. When you break down a giant leap into a series of steps, the path becomes clear, providing the ability to see forward progress and meaning in each step. Yet commitment and follow-through are tough stuff. They are arduous and thankless. If they were easy, everyone would be doing it.
Greatness is achieved through a series of small steps. Who would have thought a nanny tax business could be in the category of greatness? The fact that we were successful is proof of the power of small steps.