Do you ever wonder why some people can just step up and chase their dream?
As many of you already know, I’m writing a book based on conversations I’ve had this year with millennials who, I believe, are doing awesome things with their lives.
So far, I have a loose collection of chapters but still haven’t been able to find the glue to bind them all together.
Late Saturday evening, as I stared at the collection of Google Docs where my book resides, I asked myself: What do all these millennials have in common? What do they do differently than the average millennial?
The light bulb went off. My fingers clacked away on the keyboard:
Step Up. Step Out. Step Forward.
It all started to make sense. Any project, any idea, any endeavor these millennials took on, are divided into three major shifts: Step Up, Step Out, and Step Forward.
At some point, these millennials had a vague idea of what they wanted to do with their lives – writing, music, business, etc. Then a major shift occurred, they stopped thinking and started doing.
Step Up means taking inventory of the skills, tools, infrastructure at your disposal and setting out on the journey.
Some folks like to call this shift “taking the leap,” but I think it’s something much more than that. Lisa and Jordan got off their butts, stepped up, and took action! No leaping involved, just making a decision to take the first step available.
You can’t have a clay pot without first firing it in a kiln.
If you want to be successful, you need to put yourself out there. An artist can paint a picture, but it doesn’t become a masterpiece until it’s hung before the public’s eye.
After Stepping Up, the millennials I’ve been fortunate enough to interview Stepped Out into the world. Vulnerable and exposed, they bared their ideas for the world to ridicule.
Friends and family resisted, they tried to shield them from the criticism of the world.
But because these millennials were cast into the kiln, they became stronger.
“You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring
The most important of all the shifts is to Step Forward. As Bilbo says, if you become stagnant, other forces will take the helm and steer you in the wrong direction.
You must move forward. Once you are out, there is no turning back. Even if this road you’ve embarked on leads to failure, you can still learn something from it.
Lisa didn’t give up when Southern Weddings Magazine denied her internship application. Alex didn’t throw in the towel when every incubator turned his company down.
Instead, Lisa sought out more internships, Alex applied to more programs and eventually they both arrived where they intended. They continued to step forward.
The action you must take this very moment
I know this may seem like an over-simplification of what it takes to achieve anything. But if we take a snapshot of our lives, we will notice we fall somewhere between these major shifts.
Unfortunately, many of us – myself included – are still stuck waiting for the first shift to begin. So here is what I want you to do:
Stop reading this post. Grab a piece of paper and pencil – write down 10 crazy ideas you have for your life. Pick 3 from the list. Complete 1 task for each.
Now your journey’s begun. Now it’s time to Step Out.