The Power of "Just One"



What is one thing you could do differently? What is one step you can take right now?

Just one thing. Not 3. Not 10. Just one. I'm not asking for your big audacious goal or about the long list of accompanying to-do's. I'm asking about just one thing. One thing is manageable.

I remember from many years ago, some of the best advice I'd ever received. I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed by the work ahead of me and simply put, was paralyzed. The advice? "Just start. Pick one thing and do it. You'll find yourself moving along. Then do the next. Before you know it, you'll have accomplished more than you thought you could, and certainly more than you are than by just standing there!" That day I did exactly as was suggested. The result? A remarkably productive and unexpectedly happy day.

The idea makes sense. Actually, from the outside, it seems quite obvious. When one is in the midst of it, the overwhelm can be crippling. Sometimes we need a reminder, a nudge to take the first step. "Push where it moves!" I heard recently.

This certainly isn't a novel idea. There are many sayings and analogies or metaphors: baby steps; one thing at a time. "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." "Put one foot in front of the other."

My favorite is "Tiny Tweaks" which I heard coined by Amy Cuddy. [See an excerpt from her TED talk below.] Amy reminds us that "tiny tweaks can lead to big changes". Intellectually, we know this is true. We know this is how great ideas take shape, one step, one tiny tweak at a time.

Like so many other things we know intellectually, do we apply that knowledge for the better, or do we allow the bigness of our dreams close in on us until we come to a painful halt and eventually decide they're no longer achievable? If like me, you've ever experienced the latter or have come close, let's see if we can try something different together this time.

As the beginning of the new year approaches and we consider our big dream goals for 2016, let's take one additional step and apply the "tiny tweaks" approach, with a twist.

With your dream big goal in hand, what is one tiny tweak you can make, that you can apply immediately or within the next two weeks? What is important about this one step? What will it mean to your overall success? What would it enable? Get specific. How will you do it?

Then, define the success. How will you know you're successful? How will you measure success?

Here comes the timeline question! When will you do it by?

And the final twist, the question that makes it real and will be different for you this time: Who will you share your success with - and by when? Who is your accountability buddy? Who will you ask to hold you accountable for completing the task - and also cheer you on, support you, celebrate your success with you? Someone who will nudge just enough to help you push over the bumps along the way.

Consider the possibilities! Imagine with each passing week, being one step closer to your dream big goal. By this time next year, you will have experienced a "manifestation of the journey" as my good friend calls it.

Let's get started together. Take a step with me today and share your one thing!

We can do this…. one step, one tiny tweak at a time.

To your immense success, because it's in you…

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"tiny tweaks (can lead to) ---> BIG CHANGES" from TED Talk by Amy Cuddy (Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are)

"Tiny tweaks can make a big difference in affecting our outcomes kind of downstream. And what I mean by that is that small changes to how we carry ourselves, how we think about the world, can really change the way we think, feel, and behave, in ways that are very, very important. That’s in contrast to things like—you know, people think, “Oh, they need a lot of money, they need a lot of status, they need a lot of stuff in order to get ahead,” when really these small changes to our psychological state can lead to the same kinds of outcomes.

I also want to contrast that against something like a New Year’s resolution. So when people say, “I’m going to make this big change and I’m going to go to the gym five days a week for the next year,” why do those things fail? They fail because the discrepancy between where you are now and where you want to be is too big, and so it takes so long to get there that we give up along the way. If we say to ourselves, “I’m just going to feel a little bit more confident and comfortable. I’m going to power-pose before I walk into this situation, feel a little bit better,” incrementally that gets us ahead, rather than thinking about it as a massive change."


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