When you think about getting to where you’re going, or when you hear about the people who have, there’s so much emphasis on the single, life-changing moment when everything came together, the giant plan that made it all happen. The day someone quit their job and went all in on their dream. The day they pitched their crazy idea. Or when they finally put their hat in the ring for that huge promotion that changed their whole life.
Those moments are all real. I have had a few of them myself. But they’re not the whole story. You don’t have to upend your life to be living it. You don’t have to risk it all immediately to get what you’re hoping for. Big leaps don’t guarantee you getting to your desired future faster.
Quite the contrary, I believe there isn’t really any such thing as the big leap. It’s total bullshit. Rather, the big leap is an inflection point that happens to be preceded by a long series of small steps and tiny plans.
Think about running a marathon. You’ve taken how many steps? Let’s say thirty-three thousand. And it’s not until that final step that you cross the finish line. Was the last step any different from the first one? Other than you feeling much more tired, no, it just happens to be the one step with a little bit more specialness because it’s the step that got you to the end, the same but different from the 29,999 steps before it. The big finish didn’t happen as a result of one massive fucking leap. You didn’t long-jump the marathon. Rather, it’s the result of small step after small step for 26.2 miles of torture (or at least that’s how it felt for me).
“Overnight successes” are almost always ten years in the making and filled with these tiny steps. How long was Kendra Scott running businesses before her jewelry line took off? How long was Kerry Washington acting before anyone knew her name? The answer, despite the details: a long fucking time.
But they kept going. They kept creating. And they had been executing on their small plans a seriously long time before they ever hit that inflection point.
What’s important is to be all in on your commitment to yourself and to your bite-size plans, regardless of whether any recognition is coming your way. It’s not about making massive changes that require you to upend your life. Gradual is a beautiful thing. Gradual builds. Gradual allows you to adjust. Gradual allows you to change and refine. Your energy and daily actions can be all in without your how being abrupt or hasty.