I am an ideas person. I Love the planning phase of a project. Brainstorming, lists, often collaboration… But when it comes to the implementation, I must admit that sometimes I get stuck. Because all of a sudden there is a hard deadline and it looms large ahead, calmly mocking my plodding progress. All of a sudden I am actually expected to accomplish something. Measurable progress? Oh, no.
We are all familiar with the wisdom of Lao-tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Sometimes taking the first step into something unknown can feel daunting. It may be frightening, or even simply unnerving because we know that the “real work” is ahead. Maybe if I wait just a little bit longer to actually set the wheels in motion, I can prolong the fun part, and postpone the work. (Which is why, for many of us, nothing is more inspiring than the last minute.)
This dynamic exists for me even in something as innocuous as planning for travel. The whirlwind phase that consists of choosing a destination, selecting accommodations, mapping a route, and planning an itinerary – all great. Packing, not so much. I have tried to pack in advance of the night before departure, but I get so anxious that I’ve forgotten something that I inevitably find myself unpacking everything just to double check the checklist. Plus, once I’m packed, it means I actually have to get on the road. In recent years it has helped to remind myself that the journey is actually the whole point. The journey is where the joy is.
The sowing of the seeds is the beginning, and – no matter what we hope to harvest – there is much work ahead if we hope to cultivate a bountiful garden. Even though it is an indication that the real labor is about to begin, we can find joy in knowing that we have started something. With that first step, we are doing nothing less than setting growth in motion, and that is nothing short of glorious.
What can you do today to set growth in motion? Can you feel the joy in it?
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