I’ll end this series with an echo of my first point of taking a long-haul approach. This isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. And the only way to run that marathon is one step at a time.
What is your one step?
I liked the way my friend Jen Louden put it in a post on Facebook recently.
“We are running a marathon my loves and it is only mile 1.
I have not run a marathon, but I have run a 1/2 (13.1 miles) and what I learned is DO NOT LOOK AT THE MILE MARKERS. Do not project forward into the future! One present step at a time.
So what is your step today?”
When there is so much that is pressing, it’s easy to slip into feeling like everything needs to be done, and it needs to be done now (and it all needs to be done by you!). The fact that that’s impossible places you smack dab on the edge of a cliff, where it won’t take much more than a gust of wind to tip you over.
To back away from that cliff, keep asking yourself, “What is my step today?”
Permission to take a break
The other aspect of pacing yourself is giving yourself permission to slow down and take a break from it all.
It may feel oh-so-compelling and oh-so-necessary to charge at what needs to be done full tilt like a bull at a red flag. And for short-term objectives, that’s fine. But full tilt will never be a viable long-term approach.
Pace yourself. Check in with yourself regularly to see how you feel. If you find yourself constricting and contracting, if stress has plonked itself down firmly behind the steering wheel, take a step back. Enjoy yourself. Focus on videos of cute puppies. Go spend some time in nature. Do whatever helps you rest, reset, and rejuventate.
Be part of the never-ending note
Think of it as a million voices, all joining to form a unified never-ending note. You open your mouth, add your own note to the mix, and sing it for as long as you can. But at some point, you have to stop and take a breath.
And guess what? That unified note still keeps on going. The fact that you took a break to breathe had no detrimental effect. The only difference is that now, because you took a break, your lungs are filled with air again and you can add your voice once more.
We don’t need to fall into the ego-driven trap of believing that we have to carry the momentum of the movement fully on our backs.
So step away from time to time. Breathe. The note will continue. And then come back in with a voice that is refreshed, energized, and clear.
In the long run, you’ll have more of an impact if you do.