A few days ago, I read a book about Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the first people to set foot on the summit of Mount Everest. In the book he said what he and his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, had done would nowadays seem ridiculous and amateurish from the viewpoint of a modern professional mountaineer. “We had very simple equipment and very primitive climbing techniques. The only thing that we really knew how to do well was carving one step after the other into the snow. In all humility I can say that we were champions in simply shaping and preparing the next step in the snow or ice, which then got us one step closer to our goal.”
Sir Edmund was obviously very clear about his clues for upcoming progress on his journey. How about us? On our journey to reach our goal, personal and professional, we have that desired future in mind and we understand that momentum can be achieved by taking small steps. But are we really aware of the clues of our progress? Do we keep track of those small steps?
For example, you feel the tension that the upcoming reorganization of your company might lead to the removal of your department. Obviously you and your coworkers’ efforts in your work are not appreciated or acknowledged. Feeling unbearable and disappointed, you start to look for new opportunities. Your goal is to find a better-paid, more promising and satisfactory job, in which you can feel the appreciation and acknowledgement. Adopting the micro to massive principle, you keep doing job searches and sending resumes consistently on a daily basis, which are the small steps we refer to. What can be the progress clues in this situation? It can be that you answer the job advertisements with more self-confidence and hope; that you only respond to advertisements in which you would be able to contribute a lot of your experience; that you stop sending out applications without really being interested only because you are afraid that you wouldn’t find anything better; that you write the application with a feeling of dignity, humility and pride. If you realize the occurrence of any one of the similar situation, you know you are one step ahead in your progress. And you know you are taking the right steps and you are closer to your goal.
How would you know that you’re one step ahead? This is the question that only you can answer.
A caterpillar cannot reach its potential by taking flying lessons, but only by its development into a butterfly. – Coaching Plain & Simple by Peter Szabo and Daniel Meier