I’ve recently found myself using the phrase ‘baby steps’ more and more in conversations. It comes up mostly whenever I am talking about rough/unproductive days and is surprisingly effective at getting the message across. The phrase just feels right. Despite the adorable nature of the phrase and setting aside mental images of pudgy babies stumbling around, let me tell you why I find it to be such an effective way to express myself.
As grown ups, we find ourselves juggling multiple things at the same time all the time. Take me right now. Currently, I am trying to study for school, to actively participate in two Toastmasters clubs, to find time to read, do laundry, meet up/stay in touch with friends after making promises and mostly to keep this blog running. I bet your schedule is way busier but I have trouble getting all of mine done as it is. As a result, I usually end up dropping the ball on something. An assignment left for the last minute, missing a Toastmasters meeting because I was working on the assignment till 3am or even just having a slow day when nothing gets done.
Now wind the clock all the way back to when you were learning how to walk. You were most likely bumping into stuff, relying on things for support and losing your balance after every few steps. Probably fell on your butt more than a few times and woke the neighbours up. But the point is you dropped the ball a lot of times. But, at that age it isn’t seen as wrongful or disappointing that you do. Instead, the act of taking baby steps is translated to “slowly but surely getting to where you want to be.” Literally.
I don’t mean to compare your difficult classes or hectic work projects to a baby walking but rather to how you treat yourself when you stumble. To me personally, the phrase articulates that I’m learning to be the version of myself that can manage my workload perfectly. A version that gets his school readings done on time so he can get to other readings of a more fictional nature. A version that checks up on his friends and gets the laundry done on time.
I think we’re all trying to be that person who can get all of our work done perfectly, but we’re just not there yet. We drop the ball because we’re human. And that can make someone think badly of themselves. Rather, think of those tough days as baby steps. Small, unsteady but necessary steps leading to a future where you get to walk down whatever path you choose. Literally.
So, don’t hate the unproductive days. Don’t hate yourself on those days. And if you ever find yourself on the floor after taking a fall, just remember.