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What We Can Learn by Taking Baby Steps

May 19, 2008

My daughter at 8 and a half months old is starting to walk. It’s always an exciting and nerve racking time for parents as you hurry to baby proof everything and snap some pictures while it lasts. As I watched her taking these “baby steps” I started thinking of how taking baby steps in other aspects of our lives could be a good practice to start following.

There are so many times we rush into life – be it a career, a new relationship, an impulse purchase – and then we wonder why things don’t turn out the way we had hoped. Sometimes taking baby steps can be a good way to start and help us turn out better than we expected.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned by taking baby steps:

1. It’s better to take one wobbly step in the right direction than no steps at all: There’s a lot to be missed in life if you just sit on the floor in the same spot day after day. Taking even one little baby step will help you get closer to your goal than if you never take a baby step at all.

2. Watch Others: No doubt my daughter is an early walker because she’s got a busy brother running all around her. Spending some time observing others doing what you want to do will help you judge what mistakes to avoid and what techniques to try.

3. Don’t be afraid to fall down: The first step takes a bit of courage. You don’t know where that tiny little step will lead you and there’s a good chance you’ll fall down. Life is full of risks and choices. If you don’t take a risk, you can’t reap the possible reward.

4. Get back up again: It’s important to keep trying even when you do fall down. Sure it might sting a little, but it helps you become better and stronger with each step you take next.

5. Notice the details along the way: When you’re taking baby steps, you have time to notice things like fuzz balls and cheerios on the floor. It’s important to notice and enjoy these tiny details while you can – because you’ll never notice them once you learn to run.

6. Don’t get upset because you’re not running yet: It’s easy for us to become discouraged and feel like we’ll never make it. If you think you’ll never make it, chances are you’re right.

7. Watch out for sharp objects: While taking risks can be a good thing, remember to do it wisely and make sure you have a clear path. A few little bumps and bruises are okay – going to the emergency room for stitches is never fun.

8. Celebrate Your Successes: My daughter claps her hands every time she takes a few steps and realizes she just moved from one spot to another. Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem.

9. Don’t be ashamed to hold onto someone’s hand: There are some things that we just can’t do on our own at first. Sometimes we need a little guidance or support or someone to learn from. It’s okay to hold onto somebody or something when you’re taking those first few steps.

10. Know when to let go: Holding onto things will give us the confidence we need at first, but it’s important that we also know the right time to let go. Holding onto things and not letting go will only hold us back if we wait too long.

Has there been a time in your life when you had to start with baby steps? How did taking baby steps at first help you get where you wanted to be?

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