Oftentimes, we’re overwhelmed by the immensity and need for change in our lives. I need to lose 50 pounds. I need to stop being afraid every day. I need to get rid of X bad habit. I need to complete a degree program. I need to change career fields, or figure one out for the first time. I need to buy a house for my family. These are huge goals, lofty goals.
What I’ve seen in my own life, and in the lives of many people around me, is that the enormity of the goal, or sometimes the enormity of the problem, seems so vast and insurmountable that one does not know where to begin. And our culture has more capacity for distraction than ever before. But I don’t think that where to begin is the problem. Just begin. Somewhere. Anywhere. Take a step. Make a decision. Do a bit of research. Ask someone who’s been there. But do something.
What can you do today?
See, life is not static or stagnant. We don’t ever stay in one place. While we think we’re staying stuck, we’re actually decaying and drifting away. We are always moving, always transitioning. We are either moving towards our goals, our dreams, our true identity, or we are absolutely moving away from it. There is no third option.
In a self-defense situation, the fight/flight/freeze continuum is deceiving. Fight or flight may move us to safety. Freeze almost never does. So while we aren’t physically moving, the danger is increasing with every moment we don’t move.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Lao Tzu
“One day at a time.” -Alcoholics Anonymous
In the Hebrew tradition, Nehemiah was called out of service to a foreign king to return to his homeland to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He encountered many obstacles – enemies outside of the walls, naysayers within. At times his workers built the walls with brick and mortar in one hand, and a shield or a sword in the other. But the walls were rebuilt – one brick at a time.
What can you do this hour?
I know I was put here on this Earth to teach. To make people safer, to help people live fuller, more complete lives. To help people gain freedom. I know I don’t always do it well – my own stuff routinely gets in the way. Whether I’m qualified is not for me to judge. But today I can move towards that purpose. I can map out a plan for a new Krav Maga program and e-mail it to a trusted ally. I can write this blog and try like hell not to be a hypocrite with what I’m saying. I can crush my workout. I can pack my meals full of clean food. I can listen to my instructors and staff, and try to hear their heartfelt concerns. I can cast a vision for my front desk staff, who might doubt that answering a phone cheerfully and wiping down a mirror diligently somehow doesn’t play a part in making people safer (it does). I can teach a class and give it everything I have. I can remember the names of the people I meet today. I can rest when I need to, because I’m in this for the long haul. This isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon. It’s not a quick skirmish – it’s a long, protracted battle against many enemies, a siege against some very ingrained strongholds.
What can you do this minute?
No, really – what can you actually do right now? Call a friend you’ve lost touch with – someone that brought strength and goodness into your realm. Schedule a workout, then do it. If you’ve already done a workout, do another one. Cook yourself a good, healthy meal. Do one thing you’re afraid of. Forgive someone who’s wronged you. Ask forgiveness of someone you’ve wronged. Speak up when you’ve been afraid before. Keep quiet when you’ve spoken rashly before. Let people feel the gravity, the weight of who you are. Do something you’re afraid of. If you’ve never thrown a punch or hit a pad, throw a punch. If you’re comfortable throwing a punch, throw a kick. Don’t do what you’re already good at. Do what you’re not good at. Call someone to have a hard conversation instead of wussing out and e-mailing them. If you struggle to be alone, spend time alone. If you struggle to be with people, go out and be with them. The things you can do are as diverse as you are. But you don’t get a pass just because you don’t know what to do.
If you’re still reading, you’re missing the point. Seriously. What can you do RIGHT NOW?