I like first steps – they remind me of change, diversity, and the irresistible pull of uncertainty. And this post is specially written for a friend taking first steps. I dag into my materials of a book written long time ago – here is the illustration – made by Laurie Barrows for the book on Falling in love with your life: The first step is the hardest.
First steps are like mitosis, the amazing process of cell division. Once started, the only way to stop it, is to kill the cell. You can actually see the process. A once murky (cell) nucleus suddenly starts changing: Small lines appear, and slowly but surely, the chromosomes begin to take shape, swimming in a clearer nucleoplasm. Once the first step of small lines begins, the process is unstoppable. This phenomenon is also known in physics, it is called inertia. To overcome inertia, we need a higher force than to keep moving. To take the first step we might need a battery.
Change, as it is, is altering. That is why the first step is the hardest. Because we might not know what change brings. It is not risk that scares us, it is uncertainty. Somehow, inside of us, we need to gather the energy to get through uncertainty: A fall back position, a contingency plan, and so forth. Sometimes however, there is no going back. Like when I moved to the US in 94, two kids, two suitcases, two boxes, no return tickets. Sometimes we carry so much energy inside that uncertainty only inspires us, and failure is not an option.
This is the process that I call incubating. We are constantly gathering information, energy, resources… and we might be waiting until either we take the plunge, driven by excitement and curiosity, or we are pushed to change, driven by unforeseen circumstances. In both events, we then realize that we are powerful beyond our imagination. The sky opens up. The sky is no longer the limit. Our mind becomes the limit.
To take that first step then becomes the best option, by taking action we learn, and whether we need to change course again or not, we know we are on our way… Sometimes I didn’t know where I was going, but I always knew that –like Alice in wonderland- going forward took me places.
That first step is the best!