Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One Step At A Time

The phrase "one step at a time" has been my mantra for as long as I can remember. It's just one of those things that keeps coming back to play into my life. I'm sure I'm not alone in this, it's a common phrase that gives a sense of calming, patience, and peace.

The first time I really remember using it is in high school, when I struggled with math...specificially, algebra. I just couldn't get it. So I would spend my "off hours" in extra tutoring with my teacher, learning the rules of math. I remember her telling me constantly to just slow down, that I was working too fast to try and get the answer, that I needed to do it one step a time.

The phrase really hit home in college. I constantly felt like I had too many things going on, was overwhelmed by the stress of sorority life, friendships, classes, being homesick, and several other contributing factors. I was in way over my head, that's for sure. I couldn't stay true to all my promises or committments, I let friendships fall and stepped away from faith for a little bit. It wasn't until my junior year when I learned to pace myself better and take things one step at a time.

My year with Mercy Volunteer Corps was a constant whirlwhind, and I put pressure on myself to feel like I had to solve every problem. I was constantly, constantly telling myself to take things one step a time, and, it was something I could pass on to my students. When they were upset, overwhelemed, and unable to get a grip, I would tell them "Relax. Just take it one step a time. That's all you can do".

Remember that one time I did a 1/2 marathon? You know what I was thinking the entire 13.1 miles? One step at a time. There was one point on the course when I really was not sure I would be able to finish. I was exhausted, I had blood blisters, my head was throbbing, and I was hot. The ONLY thing that got me through was saying, out loud, one. step. at. a. time.

Those six months when I did not have a job and I was scared to death that I was never going to find a job and be forced to live in my childhood home? One step at a time. That's what got me through. Apply to this job, do the interview, stay calm.

And now that I have a 9-5 job, I can't tell you how many times a day that phrase saves me. When a huge audit falls in my lap or when all my volunteers quit at once or a slew of new volunteers all come at once and I'm expected to do my job plus be the IT person, I tell myself "Smile. One step at a time. Breathe. Don't hurt anybody".

So yes, "One Step At A Time" has saved me, more than once. It gives me permission to slow down. It forces me to focus. It works in all situations.

Do you have a mantra? What is it?

And don't act like you had no idea THIS was coming:


Anonymous said... Add Reply

My mantra? This is OUR TIME! Goooooo IRISH!

Don said... Add Reply

I love a blog that features an American Idol ...and timeless wisdom.

Elizabeth Rosalyn said... Add Reply

Thank you for this. <3

Shari said... Add Reply

I love this! :)

"Dream Big; Work Hard" is my mantra - advice given to me by my journalism mentor ten years ago. I've lived my life by it ever since!