The search for dramatic change in our lives, to make a quantum leap forward is a quest that I believe possesses most of us. There is a hunger inside of us (sometimes self-imposed and sometimes from external forces… i.e. parents, spouses, bosses) to break bad habits, earn more money, complete projects that have been gnawing at us. I have found that the road to drastic changes begins with small steps, simple shifts that lead to remarkable outcomes.
Late in the day, after countless phone calls to secure new projects or arrange interviews for candidates I had recruited, I was ready to call it quits and hope that a new day would bring better results. As I was turning my computer off, a class I had given on “make one more call” flashed in my mind. “If I’m going to teach it, I guess I have to do it.” I looked at a list of financial managers who had a score of messages from me but had not found the time to return my call (that was my story… it couldn’t be that they didn’t feel a need to). One name stood out at a major energy company that I had been trying, unsuccessfully, to reach for 6 months. “One more message won’t hurt, I guess.” I was stunned when I heard Paul on the other end of the phone, responding, “What can I do for you?” That one more call, one more small step was the beginning of a business relationship that elevated my company to new heights.
It’s not the grand gestures, the broad wave of the arms that produce the results in our lives. It’s the small steps, the consistent pieces that come together in their own time, that open doors. It’s thoughts, simple actions in the direction of what we truly want from life that produce profound results. The people we lead do not expect (or most times need) for us to be charging from the head of the pack, knocking down doors or storming the next hill. What they DO NEED are simple acknowledgments that what they are doing counts, is deemed necessary and important, to be there to remove obstacles and not just to be the accountability stick.
What small steps have you taken that made someone smile, sit up a little straighter? What small steps are you going to take today?