Steps that count vs. Counting steps

I have an Apple Watch that I rarely wear. It enables me to count my steps which, on good days, encourages me, but on less-than-good ones has me feeling less-than-good about myself, even though I did take steps, did actually move, did get up from my desk at least a few times! Still, it’s this latter reality that keeps me from wearing the watch at all.

I don’t like feeling like the steps I have taken don’t count.

It strikes me that courage is a lot like this:

On good days, I’m more than happy to count all the ways that I’ve demonstrated it, held fast to it, remained committed. I can see the ways in which it is moving me toward my goals…and then some. But on less-than-good days I can’t take much pleasure in any steps…even though they absolutely exist because they don’t seem like enough, I’ve not taken enough of them, they’re not spectacular or Watch-worthy!

*sigh*

We often feel like courage has to be ginormous, amazing, bigger than life, cliff-jumping-esque. Certainly, such displays and experiences of courage do exist. But if they become the standard (like the bare-minimum of 10k steps), we become disheartened by anything less; worse, we become disappointed in ourselves.

So, what’s the alternative? What’s the non-Apple-Watch version of courage?

Any step at all matters, even (and maybe especially) the tiniest and most incremental.

Tiny steps of courage make an amazing difference and enable the kind of ongoing movement, transformation, and change you desire and deserve.

An example:

I used to get super-irritated at myself when I wouldn’t just say what I actually felt, speak my mind, tell my truth. I spent an inordinate amount of time in my head — spinning about with thoughts like:

  • If I say what I actually think and feel, all hell will break loose. (But wait! This IS what I think and feel! Shouldn’t I be able to express that, no matter what?)
  • They won’t be able to handle it — or me. (If they can’t handle me, why is that my problem?)
  • It’s only going to make things worse; I need to figure out another way through this issue or problem or reality. (Why am I still deliberating about this? Really?!?)

And this spinning, this craziness? Milliseconds. The list was far longer, believe me — and endlessly on repeat.

One day I decided to experiment with something, just a little thing, the tiniest promise to myself:

Just one time today, you will tell the truth. Just one time today you will align your inner thoughts with your outer words/actions. Just once. That’s all. Nothing more is required.

Amazingly, I did it! And miracle of miracles, the world did not come crashing down around me. Some days were harder than others, to be sure, but still, I survived them. And even more amazing? Over time I realized that I my capacity to demonstrate courage was building, getting stronger — like a muscle. Those tiniest of steps began to add up. And what at one time had looked like an uncrossable chasm, eventually just required one more tiny step to now be on the other side.

What if you experimented? What if you made a promise to yourself? What if you chose the tiniest, seemingly inconsequential step and then repeated it day after day after day?

That, dear friends, takes courage.

That, dear friends, IS courage.

Any step at all matters, even (and maybe especially) the tiniest and most incremental.

And when you choose to take those steps, even (and maybe especially) honor them and yourself over and over again? That, dear friends, is sovereignty.

May it be so.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ronna Detrick

I work and write on behalf of women and their re-visioned stories — past, present, and future. Stories told and lived on our own terms. As it should be!