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“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  ~ Lau Tzu

 

This Chinese proverb is one I knew well and totally believed, or thought I did.  When you totally believe something, you live it, but I didn’t!

You see, I would want to see the WHOLE JOURNEY before I even took my first step! 

Before I did anything I wanted to ‘see the bigger picture’, make sure every ‘i’ was dotted and every ‘t’ crossed before making a move.  Heck, even our holidays were meticulously planned and executed!  I’d have my Excel spreadsheet detailing everything from A to Z – packing lists, detailed daily itineraries, the works.  And don’t get me wrong, this can be a good thing!  Although my husband did complain when I announced we needed to go to sleep early to get the train from Rome to Pompeii at 5am the next morning!  ‘I thought this was a holiday!’ he wailed.  Needless to say, we didn’t make it to Pompeii (I did eventually make it a couple of years later though – but that’s another story)!

So whilst hubby dearest simply throws his stuff into a bag a couple of hours before we head to the airport (and has a vague idea of where we’re going i.e. what country we’re going to!), I’ll have planned and almost ‘lived’ our holiday already – I know everything about the hotel we’re staying in (after spending hours agonizing over which hotel to stay in of course 😉), I know the waiters by name already based on the reviews I’ve scoured through and I know exactly how much a taxi should cost us from the airport to the hotel so we don’t get ripped off!

As I said, this can be a good thing.  I’d want to get the most out of our holiday after all – squeeze every last drop out of it, so to speak!  But of course trying to ‘see the whole holiday’ and cramming as much in as I could meant we were in need of another holiday the moment we got back having spent AGES planning it down to the last detail and the holiday itself pounding the streets visiting every site there is to see (and trust me, after three visits to Rome and lots of street pounding (and more hubby complaints!) I still haven’t seen half of the sites!).

I’ll also add that those were the days I had time on my hands to actually do all this meticulous planning.  When my life became more of a whirlwind, I barely knew what day of the week it was half the time.  We would book flights and accommodation for a couple of months down the line, and the only time I was able to do any sort of holiday planning was at the airport waiting to board our plane!

Allowing things to unfold …

And you know what?  Those holidays worked out FAR better!  I didn’t waste hours and hours of precious time scouring for information to plan the Perfect Holiday.  The more information I gathered the more confused I would get!  I would find the whole process stressful and be mentally drained by the time we set off!  But when we simply decided on where we were going (the ultimate ‘goal’), I would book the basics i.e. flight and hotel (I haven’t got to the stage of turning up in a foreign country with nowhere to sleep just yet, ha!) and we would let the rest UNFOLD – as it’s meant to.  We’d meet someone in the elevator after checking in and they’d tell us what an amazing time they had somewhere that day.  So we’d do that the next day.  At that place we’d come across a quaint restaurant and have dinner there that evening.  There we’d be told about a fabulous show we really must see the following night.  And that’s often how our holiday would unfold.  This is actually exactly what happened when we travelled to Thailand a few years ago (what a beautiful country!).  I booked the holiday and being completely inundated with work and life, had absolutely NO time to do any planning of any sort.  I was gutted as Thailand was so far away, such an amazing place with so much to see and I really wanted to ‘maximise’ our stay there!  However, I needed to recognise that I’d taken the first step by booking the holiday and I then allowed things to unfold instead of stressing myself over the minute details – trying to see our whole holiday through from beginning to end – before we even got there! 

Well, that was the best holiday we’ve EVER had!  It was perfect in every way.  We decided what to do and where to go when we got there.  If we woke up and decided we felt like lounging on the beach, we did.  If we felt like exploring, we’d find somewhere to explore.  Each thing lead to the next.  This is a picture of us kayaking in the Andaman sea as sunset fell, something we booked spontaneously and it was one of the most magical experiences I’ve had in my entire life. 

It really taught me not to take life so damn seriously!!

In comparison, during our (or, rather MY!) Perfectly Planned Holidays we’d come across something great to do but find out ‘itinerary’ was already rammed with activities that we’d already booked and paid for so had no wiggle room to be flexible.  We missed out on a lot of things we could have done based on where we were at that moment in time, because I’d planned everything in advance.  I didn’t trust the process.

Whilst in my holiday scenario, the good thing is that the next step is an action you HAVE to take – if you’ve booked a flight and hotel, then you have a set date on which you need to get yourself to the airport and onto the plane!

But it’s a bit tricky with other things and this is where I really fell on my face.  Starting this blog for example.  I really wanted to be a blogger and this is now going back years and YEARS.  I wanted everything to be perfectly planned and in order before I actually made it happen.  An amazing site in my perfect niche, fabulous content being pumped out like clockwork.  As I planned and planned … and planned … and planned … well, the whole blogger era came and went as the years rolled by and I kept tweaking this and that before I actually DID anything!  In the meantime, bloggers had claimed their space, taken each step in faith, learned by trial and error as they kept going, allowed things to unfold and became resounding successes, or, discovered that, actually, blogging wasn’t for them.  I was literally spending YEARS trying to set up a thousand dominoes neatly lined up which I could then go back to the first domino and give it a nudge, which would set all the other dominoes going in perfect order, as I had perfectly planned!  I was doing this around a crazy full-time job and family commitments by the way, rather than spending all day every day for years trying to create my blog!  The whole thing fell to the wayside many times, but in the small pockets of precious time I DID have available, I misspent it trying to see the whole staircase ahead instead of just TAKING THE FIRST DARNED STEP! 

Keep moving

You see, only when you’re in MOTION can the next step be revealed to you.  Not when you’re standing paralysed in one spot!

Sure, sometimes the next step may turn out to be a dead end, but all you need to do is backtrack and carry on.  It’s only through trial and error that you’ll find your way to your final destination.  The only way that guarantees you NOT reaching your final destination is not taking that all important first step (and subsequent steps!)!

We need to trust ourselves more.  We need to step out in faith fully believing that the next step will unfold, and the next, and the next.

If you’re stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’ like I always was, just take that first step!!  Things will become clearer, as long as you TAKE ACTION.  I was waiting for everything to be perfect before I started my blog, instead during that time I could have learned all the valuable lessons I needed to take things to the next level.  When I did get back into my online business, I just decided to go for it.  At first, I got all confused again.  But what if this happened, and what if that happened?  Shouldn’t I do this first and shouldn’t I wait for that before I did anything?  ‘No!  Just get moving and figure it out as you go along!’ I told myself.  And I did.  And you know what?  As soon as I took my first shaky step, the next step immediately unfolded.  I took that next step and the next step unfolded.  I just needed to trust myself.

And this is why Bloom is all about the JOURNEY we’re making.  Journeys don’t excite most people.  They want the destination!  After all I didn’t tell you about my flight to Rome or to Thailand – the airlines I flew on or how I spent my time in the air – and neither did you want to hear about it!  But you’ll never REACH that destination unless you make that journey, so you may as well take that crucial first step – whether you think it’s the right step or the wrong step – and let the rest unfold. 

What first step will you take today?