Working towards a big vision is a powerful experience. As a compass, a vision can be a decision-making tool for all of your day-to-day actions. If the action will take you towards your vision, you do it. If it won’t, you don’t. Simple? Yes. Easy? No.
Vision work can be daunting as well, and I see that all the time. A vision can be so large and overwhelming that people have a hard time getting started.
That’s where baby steps can be so helpful. How can you break a goal or task into the smallest pieces so that it’s easier to get started and gain some momentum? When I’m working with groups, I really emphasize this point and encourage them to have fun with it. “What’s the smallest, rinky-dinkiest step you can take right now?”
Inevitably, this question lightens the mood, which is beneficial in itself, and it also shows people how they can move forward.
Breaking things down into baby steps also applies to time. A vision is often attached to a yearly plan or even a multi-year plan. What if you set some shorter-term goals as well? Notice the impact when you ask where you want to be in 15 to 30 days, versus where you want to be in six months or a year. From there, you can baby step your way to the bigger vision and the longer plan.
There’s more to the concept of baby steps than the time frame you work in and how much you get done. It’s also about treating yourself as kindly as you would treat a baby.
When I’m helping pastors, churches and teams to set the actions that will help them achieve their vision, I find that before new actions get added, something else needs to happen: saying no.
In “Fire,” my new favorite poem by Judy Brown, she talks about making sure there is space between the logs. When you and your team members burn the candle at both ends and you’re always in “doing” mode, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your physical, mental and emotional health.
So before you even begin doing any baby stepping, step back instead and get into “being” mode. What will it take for you and your team to be at the top of your game this year? What and who do you need around you in your environment? What do you need to create? What do you need to eliminate?
There are usually about 50 things that people need to say no to and take off their lists before they can jump with both feet into working towards their vision. What are yours?