.... begins with one step.
This pearl of wisdom from Lao Tzu is also the motto written at the bottom of my blue belt certificate received on completing my first karate grading.
I had just passed my first test but in reality the first step taken on my martial arts journey happened about 9 months earlier when I entered the dojo to check out a karate class to see if it was for me.
I was nervous walking in but I met the instructors and they were so welcoming and friendly that my nerves went straight away. I watched the class and saw that while there seemed so much going on, I felt I could do what the white belts were doing so I told them I would be back for my first class the following week.
My nerves walking in just to check out the classes was nothing compared to how I felt before my very first karate class. I remember it vividly and can see myself standing there at the end of the line, the newbie. I didn't have a gi like the others, I didn't know anyone but once the class started that didn’t matter. I learnt how to stand in fighting stance, how to punch, my first kick. I loved it. So much to learn.
Since that first training session I have now completed years of sessions and still so much to learn. That’s one of the reasons why martial arts is so great, you will never learn everything. There is always something more to learn, always a new challenge.
What journey are you on?
Any journey begins with the first step.
Whatever skill you want to learn, drawing, playing a musical instrument, all begin with the first line drawn or the first note played. Always something to learn if you remain humble and open to new experiences and new skills.
Life is a journey. Your career is a journey. Change is a journey.
You never know where your journey will lead you.
Starting anything new can be nerve racking but the important thing is to not let that stop you.
What is stopping you starting out on your journey?
I have always been proud of the way my own sons were always willing to try something new if that was what they wanted to do. They didn't need to have a mate go along or anything like that, if it was something they wanted to do they were ready to jump in and have a go.
Fear can be a big factor. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being embarrassed. Fear of failure. All entirely normal, but unless you act to neutralise these you will find yourself not taking that first step.
3 ways to overcome fear and start your journey today.
1. What is the worst that could happen?
Sounds weird I know but sometimes Imagining what could go wrong and preparing for the worst can be helpful to get moving. OK so you know what the worst might be and what you will do. Now what will the end of your journey look like? Visualise it, develop a picture in your mind, feel it and use this to help you take that first step.
One of the best ways to try to allay fears about doing something new is to find out more information. For example, if you are wanting to start training at a gym or wanting to try martial arts but don't know how, the first thing to do is find out more information. Research the clubs in your area and find out a little more about them, you can do all of this from the comfort of your own home via the internet. Your research will narrow things down for you and should open up some questions you want to ask. You have already taken the first step and have acquired some knowledge about what you wish to do. Try this today about whatever your journey is and then take the next step - pick up the phone or send that email or open that door!
3. Break it down
Any journey has stages, stepping stones from one thing to the next. Hence the title of this post. Break down your journey or goal into easy stages. It might seem too big or too costly or whatever but by breaking it down into steps that are easily achievable you will be able to move forward. Try it today!
I would love to hear about how you have taken your first step in the comments below.