How to make it through anything: Small, choppy steps

How to make it through anything: Small, choppy steps

Progress, Not Perfection

The 2020 holiday season is upon us, and it’s like nothing we have seen before. Whether or not to have the usual family gathering has become both a political discussion and question of life or death. You or someone you know is likely dealing with serious challenges this year, and forced isolation means you’re doing it with little support. It can be hard to keep getting up each day and going to work—if you’re lucky enough to have a job.

Not long ago, my long-time friend and I shared a safe, physically-distanced glass of wine across the fire pit outside. She is a nurse and we were talking about how she deals with the stress and the heavy emotional load of her work. She told me about a young man she met a few years ago as he was recovering from injuries from an ATV accident. Doctors told his mother that the boy would never walk again. But he was determined and worked hard in physical therapy. It was a long, difficult and painful process, but that young man did relearn how to walk – with the aid of walking sticks. Before he left the hospital, he gave my friend a gift of thanks for her care and encouragement, a simple bracelet he had made with three words: Small choppy steps.

The young man told my friend that he had made these three words, from his time on the football field, his mantra. Life, as in football, is not always about big strides and fast sprints.  Sometimes you need to lean in and take small choppy steps to overcome obstacles.  Progress is not about perfection. It doesn’t require big steady strides. Instead, we have to remember that small, choppy steps—inelegant and uncomfortable as they are—can get us where we need to go.

No matter what you’re working to overcome, when you feel that you don’t have the energy to take one more step, just remember that it doesn’t need to be pretty. Give yourself permission to take small steps and be imperfect. Take some time to breathe and rest as you need to (taking a break from social media helps). Just keep trying, keep taking small choppy steps, and you will rise through. One small, choppy step in a day can still count as a victory. It will get easier with time, and soon you will be gracefully striding along toward your goals.

Wishing you a wonderful, healthful and prosperous 2021. Be kind to yourself!

Yours in success,


Linda is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Success HR Consulting & Coaching, She is a certified Appreciative Inquiry facilitator, Gallup-certified Strengths Coach and a leader in strengths-focused development. Integrated Success works with organizations in developing effective teams and human resources practices to bring out the best of individuals for their own success and that of the organization. That’s why we say Integrated Success is the engine behind individuals and organizations thriving!