• Ken Caputo

First Steps

That First Step

Ever get that fluttery feeling in your gut right before you start something new? Its such an odd, vaguely disconcerting yet simultaneously invigorating feeling, isn’t it?

It’s like we’ve got a bunch of little creatures running around our insides. They have names like Excitement and Nervousness and Hesitancy. They are all zipping around, running into each other and banging off the walls of our stomachs, and making a general ruckus.

Usually, once we actually start, once we take that first step into the new and unknown, these little creatures tend to settle down. I imagine them rushing to take their seats right before the show starts. They are all sitting wide eyed with a bag of popcorn in their laps as the show begins. Anticipation is sitting next to Curiosity, and they are holding hands, while Impulsive is telling Cautious to quiet down and just watch the show.

They are all still fidgeting a little, and maybe one or two create a little ripple as they suddenly jump up to run to the bathroom one last time. Mostly, once we start moving, things settle down, the unknown becomes known, and away we go.

Every journey begins the same way: we haven’t begun, and then we take that very first step. Just like that, we are on our way.

The beginning of the journey is a special moment isn’t it? There is all of this unexpressed potential ready to unfold before you. We wonder if this journey will change us in some fundamental way. Sometimes these journeys have a lasting impact on our lives. We can sense the ripples that will spread and expand out into our future.

It can be a little scary, can’t it?

These moments can feel a little like stepping off the edge of a cliff above a broad expanse of water. You don’t know how deep it is, or how cold it is, or if there may be some strange creatures waiting to greet you below the surface.

You don’t know any of those things, but you do know that you are going to do it.

You’re going to take that step and see what happens. You can already feel the wind whipping past as you pick up speed. You’re already bracing for the impact and the shock as you plunge into the water. You’re not completely convinced this is even a good idea. There are safer options. You have reservations. And yet...you know that this one step is going to change you somehow.

No matter what happens, you are committed to leaving the old you behind and plunging into the new you.

Can you think back to one of these moments in your life? Maybe it was walking off the stage with a diploma. Maybe it was saying “I love you” to someone for the first time. Maybe it was opening the door and stepping in to a job interview. We’ve all experienced this; that feeling of the next step being a big one.

Can you remember and recreate that feeling right now?

There you are, moments away from taking that first step, feeling that fluttering in your stomach. Which little creature is it? Anticipation? Excitement? Nervousness? All of them? Whatever it is, it’s with you as you take those first few steps into the unknown of something new.

Can you feel it? Will you embrace it? Will you embrace it again and again?

I have a confession to make. Every time I hit “post” on one of these offerings, my hand shakes. It’s scary for me. I’m sharing my heart, and I have no idea how you will receive that. You might hurt me, or criticize me, or shrug your shoulders in indifference.

It’s worth it though. Taking first steps is important. I’ve also learned to navigate. I’ve learned that however you respond, that will just become part of the story. I’m ok with being wrong, with voicing a thought that is met with disagreement or hostility. It’s worth it. You’re worth it.

So what about you? What’s holding you back from taking more first steps?

What are you going to do about that?

My dream for you today is that you’ll find a way to keep taking first steps. May you seek out new territories to explore, discover new contributions you can make, and dig for new layers of your best self that you can peel back and unleash upon us.

May you successfully negotiate with those little creatures in your gut and recruit them to help you take intelligent first steps. May they guide you, encourage you, and caution you, so that you can be brave without being reckless.

When you take first steps, we are all better for it. I don’t think any of us really know what we are truly capable of. I do believe that we each have unique contributions, and those contributions can be world changing.

We’ll never know if we hold back, will we?

So go ahead...take the step :)

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