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« Ask the Expert: Yota Schneider - Part 1 | Ask the Expert: John Ryan - Part 2 »
Thursday
Mar152012

Finding the Next Step

@2012 Photo by Linda SamuelsTonight there was no question that my next step was to write this post. I’m long overdue and I could delay no more. That’s how it goes. Sometimes our next step is so clear that there is no debating, procrastinating, or confusion. On the other hand, sometimes that next step isn’t obvious.

Finding the next step has to do with locating where you are. The where I’m referring to is not a specific physical location, but your state of mind. Once you know where you are, clarity about “next” can more easily be seen.

In my computer and work area are many small, colorful toys. In addition to this fun collection, I also have a variety of phrases on signs and notes. Recently, I realized that these words help me locate where I am and prompt me towards next. I’d like to share them with you.

“Things to do”  - This small metal sign reminds me that next often involves looking at my list. Do I know what’s most important? Have my priorities shifted? Have I been realistic in what can be accomplished on that day? This sign keeps me focused, especially when I’m not sure what to do next.

“Let’s leave worry as a last resort.” – This quote written on an index card is something my Uncle Lew says. Worry is unproductive. When worry starts to creep into my thoughts, this note cues me to shift my focus to something useful.

“I write to understand as much as to be understood.” – This Elie Wiesel quote is printed on a piece of paper. It suggests that sometimes next involves pausing to write and reflect. From this understanding and discovery of where I am, the next step appears.

“There is no end to what we say is getting ready.” – This quote handwritten on a purple sticky note is something my mom said. It means that while preparation is important, we need to recognize when we’ve done enough. Let go of fear and perfection. Take that next step, even if you’re not 100% ready or sure.

“I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.” – This quote by Anna Quindlen stands upright on a small card. It encourages me to appreciate now, next and everything along the way.

“Relax” – These cutout metal letters remind me that I can’t work 24/7. A balanced life means that rest, sleep and not doing are essential. That word says to me, “Linda, it’s time to unwind. It’s time to stop.”

I’d love to hear from you. Come join in the conversation. What helps you find next?

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Reader Comments (6)

Adorable sharing and reminder of the little "road signs" we create for ourselves, helping us define the path - as we build it.

I so agree with you on the importance of knowing where we are and I've learned that when I'm feeling overwhelmed is exactly when I need to stop everything I can and just be quiet, not even make the effort to "listen", just be. Then, the path starts showing itself again. It's a magical experience and in it I find myself again.

Here are my 2 favorite "little notes" on top of my desk: From a dear friend when I learned I had to move from MD to CA: Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. And, Sincerity brings success. If you are sincere you'll have miraculous results. From Prof. Lin

Thank you for sharing your world and heart with us!

Helena

March 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHelena Alkhas

The biggest quote on my desk is: Keep Both Feet on the Ground - meaning that I have to remember to ground myself and for some reason it also keeps me balanced.

The other quote is F.E.A.R. - False Evidence Appearing Real - this is for when I'm afraid of starting a job or trying to finish a job :) It reminds me that Fear is not always real.

The last is my absolute favorite and it came from an old high school friend who is an artist: Decelerate...breathe deeply...straddle the turtle. Love it!

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Fulks

Helena- Great sharing! Isn't it interesting the choice of words we surround ourselves with? Just love the note from your friend about the caterpillar and butterfly perspective. I'm going to hold onto that one. Just beautiful. Thank you.

March 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Karen- I can see I'm in great company among quote collectors. Thank you for sharing your wonderful collection with us. They are all fabulous, but I especially like the last one with the "straddle the turtle" part. Love how it says it all with seriousness and humor.

March 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thank you for another inspiring and reassuring post, Linda! I now see that you come from a lineage of people who paid attention and were generous in sharing their wisdom with you. No wonder you are who you are:-)
I resonate with what Uncle Lew and your mom had to say. There is no room for worry when we live in present time and focus on what's right in front of us. All is as it should be. Perfection becomes an excuse and a distraction.
Perfection and worry give birth to self-doubt, self-sabotage, procrastination and fear. They sap our creativity and weaken our will power. I know their influence too well.
It's in self-acceptance and silence that I find what's next. It's in being with myself, quietly and paying attention to whatever comes my way.
It's lovely to have this reminder on a sun-filled day.
Hugs.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYota Schneider

Yota-
It's always great to hear your gentle, wise voice in our conversations. I appreciate you stopping by to share with us. And VERY excited that I just posted Part 1 of your interview about next steps. You always share such interesting and inspiring perspectives. Please stop by to join in the conversation for Part 1 & 2 of your interview.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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