Last week hiking out of the Grand Canyon I was struck by how formidable the way up appeared even though I knew I had just descended on the same trail. All I could see ahead of me was a rock face going straight up thousands of feet. I couldn’t see any trail or even get a sense of the way out.
Then I looked down at the small well-worn path under my feet and visually followed it zigzagging away from my intended direction. I started climbing and three hours later I was back at the top of the canyon rim where I began the trek that morning. All I did was put one foot in front of the other—yes there was plenty of water, chocolate and encouragement from my hiking partner—and as we kept moving the way became clearer.
It reminded me of the daunting challenges in my life. I thought about how often I became afraid, disenchanted and even looked for someone to blame when the way out wasn’t obvious or appeared impossible. I remembered times when I was frozen in my tracks not knowing which way to go and wondered how I got in that place to begin with. Afterwards I realized that as I began with the end in mind and then starting to move that direction, the way did appear.
We all have experiences throughout our lives that feel hard. We create narratives about what the experience might entail and act accordingly. Thoughts like, “poor me,” “this will be difficult,” “there’s no way out” etc. end up defining what we experience. But I believe that we can actually achieve different results just by putting one foot in front of the other and keeping what we really want in mind. Then each step defines a story of courage and audacity and moves us forward. Challenges are just opportunities turned over.
I think of where this year might end up if I look ahead to the apparent challenges, picture what I’d really like it to look like, check to see if everything I’m doing is in alignment with my ability, strength and brilliance—and then start moving that direction without getting bogged down by how it might happen. I’ve decided to let 2012 be a fabulous adventure by taking one conscious, intentional step at a time. Care to join me?