Small Steps to Big Wins
The beauty of my role as founder of PTBL is listening to all of the amazing dreams the women in our community have. So much brilliance and exceptional ideas that can make a difference in others’ lives. I am so lucky to be able to see a lot of these ideas come to life.
Sadly, many of the women I speak to never forge ahead with their dreams. “Lack of time”, as they manage full time careers and family responsibilities is one of the primary reasons. But there are other, more self-imposed reasons too.
Let’s consider the example of a young woman who had been working on a project management certification for a number of years.
It was her desire to become a Certified Project Manager. She knew that having this certification would up-level her career, qualifying her for more prominent roles. Every year the goal of becoming certified was added to her new year’s resolution list, and every year passed without completion.
This past spring, the perfect role came up in her organization. She landed the interview and was successfully able to get through several rounds. According to her recruiter she had an excellent chance of getting it. Her excitement was deflated when the job she so badly wanted was offered to someone else. The differentiating factor between her and the other candidate: certification.
She was furious at herself, and called me to vent. I sympathized, and then I asked her:”
Are you interested, or committed?”
I personally get frustrated when women tell me their big dreams, and then months later when we talk again they’re still harboring on the same conversation without having made any progress.
“I have other obligations.”
“I have to finish this other thing first.”
“I just haven’t had the time!”
“I could have been done by now.”
You get the idea.
Meditation expert, Davidji talks about attention and intention, stating that, “that which you give your attention to blossoms and blooms, and that which you don’t withers and dies”.
Understandably, it isn’t always possible to give one thing all of your attention – we’re so busy – but if you give 100% of your attention, in small spurts you can accomplish big things.
PTBL began as a mere idea. At the time, my children were 8 and 11; I was on the cusp of a promotion at Citi; and working on my PhD. I dismissed the idea entirely, convinced I’d not have the time to dedicate to it.
But dreams meant for you will continue to appear if you aren’t showing them love.
I’d wake up often in the middle of the night from a dream where I was at PTBL events with large crowds and speakers on stage. Sometimes, I’d get signs from the universe and, there was this constant gnawing feeling that never left. I decided to act upon my instincts.
I built PTBL over the course of a year, dedicating just 20 minutes a day. Working every single night for a full year, for just 20 minutes, I created the concept, marketing materials and website, began building my network and then launched with our first conference. Now in its 7th year, PTBL continues to thrive and serve as a resource for individuals and organizations, and it was built brick by brick, slowly but steadily.
Commitment doesn’t always require hundreds of hours, just the attention and intention of getting something done – even if it’s ONE solid thing until you’ve reached your goal.
Dreams are not a race – they are a progression of your desires. You don’t have to be 100% ready or perfect to launch, you just have to be committed.
If you’re considering your health, a short run, stationary bike or brisk walk for 20 minutes can uplift and energize. I walk from 14th street in New York to work in TriBeCa in the morning, and back after work – takes me 18 minutes each way, I cover 4 miles in total and have a chance to decompress, recalibrate and keep my weight in check. In one week’s time I’ve walked 20 miles, feel good and gain mental clarity which in turn promotes creativity.
If you’re considering a new job, in 20 minutes you can review a potential role and upload your resume to apply. Do that consistently over the course of two weeks and your name is in the hat for ten roles.
In 20 minutes you can focus on building your network by sending one email to a potential contact, re-connecting with someone you’ve not spoken to as of late, or giving a shout out to someone via LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. You don’t have to wait until you need your network to love your network.
Lastly, consider projects like the certification mentioned above. Putting in 20 minutes on projects that aren’t urgent but still need attention, gives you nearly 2.5 hours weekly, 10 hours monthly, 120 hours yearly – so much can be accomplished in 120 hours!
Accumulated progress is better than no progress. When you can, put in more than 20 minutes and you’ll start to see how things blossom and bloom.
What are you letting wither away?
What area of your life needs your full attention and commitment today?
Is it your health? A new job? Is it that project sitting on the shelf?
Is it that bold decision you’ve wanted to make for a very long time?
Just start. Take a step. Set the world on fire – 20 minutes at a time!
Unfulfilled dreams leave us empty. Feed your soul with happiness by accomplishing your goals.