Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  a tendency to get on with taking one more step in your right direction regardless of how you are feeling.  [This comes after “feeling your feeling” and accepting it.  Doing trumps feeling every time….]

It is a funny thing how if you keep taking one more step every day, eventually you get a lot of stuff done.  Things change because you make this move or that one.  The world reacts.  The people around you come or go.  Course-corrections happen.


So you’ve got a goal or a project you want to complete.  Others have done it, but, wow…it’s a whopper.  It looks like a mountain from where you’re standing and that feels overwhelming.  There’s probably not going to be an elevator, but if you’re in luck maybe somebody will have built a staircase.

Some of those staircases might be a bit hard to handle, however….

Suspended Staircase by Aaronth via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
If you already know how to get to your goal maybe you can make your own staircase.  Breaking things down into smaller and smaller bits allows you to stand a fair shot at accomplishing one designated step each day if you’re doing a thing that has already been done before.

You see how other people have achieved the goal you want to shoot for.  You decide what “manageable” means to you.  You systematically break down the big project into itsy-bitsy small steps and then you do them.

There will be glitches and days when it just doesn’t come together, but if you keep on doing one more prescribed step, then eventually you get to where you want to be.

One possible way to take that step forward is to put together an “if-then” plan as well as a “coping” plan.

Here’s more on that in this YouTube video,”What Small Change In Your Life Can Make a Big Difference,” published by BiteSize Psych whose Facebook page says his aim is to “revolutionize how we use psychology to better our lives, one video at a time.”

Pretty soon, you’ve got a new plate spinning on a new stick stuck on that stage where you’re in performance mode.  Then one day you look up and it’s a whole new world you’re looking at.

The thing about that kind of plan is that it only works if you want to do something that’s already been done before.

If you’re trying to figure out how to do something new and different, you’re facing a mountain wrapped in fog.  It’s sort of hard to even see the shape of it, much less carve out the steps to help you get up the thing.

Fog over volcano Mutnovsky, Kamchatka, Russia by kuhnmi via Flickr [CC BY-2.0]


Peter Sims, in his new book, LITTLE BETS:  How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries, explains that most successful entrepreneurs (especially those who started businesses with limited capital) have a tendency to take little concrete actions to discover, test and develop ideas that are achievable and affordable.  He calls these experiments “little bets.”

You make these miniscule little moves that will maybe work.

When they do work (and even when they don’t), the little moves provide you with information about the next little step to take.  Then you take that step.

If it works, you do it again and add another little bet to the mix.  If it doesn’t work, you try something else.

Because you don’t know what is actually going to happen when you are trying to do something new, you can’t analyze things too much at the beginning.

How can you analyze something you know little or nothing about?  You’d be shooting blind at a narrow target on some unknown horizon.  You, for sure, are not going to be able to develop an elaborate plan because you just won’t know all the factors that are going to be set into motion by your actions.

It’ll be slow.  It’ll be frustrating.  Sometimes it will be downright disheartening.


These different ways of stepping are sort of like the difference between cooking according to a set plan with a specific menu, recipes all picked out and all of the necessary fixings on hand in your own well-equipped kitchen, and winging it with whatever happens to be in your friend’s pantry and cupboards.

If you’re doing the set meal, it’s likely that you’ll be able to plan out how you’re going to get everything cooked in sequence, efficiently and well.

It’ll all get done and the results will probably be predictable.  You and the people you feed will know pretty much what to expect.

If you’re throwing stuff together catch-as-can, maybe it’ll turn out good or maybe not.

The result will depend partly on what is in those cupboards you’re rummaging through and partly on how good you are at improvising and playing with food.

Chunky Chili Cooking by Bob Peters via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
That example was tendered by Professor Saras Sarasvathy from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia.  Sarasvathy is one of the few researchers studying how entrepreneurs tend to make decisions.

She says that the MBA-trained managers she teaches at the Darden School are likely to follow the methods used by the set-meal cook.

Their “procedural planning” approaches are highly dependent on making predictions about the future based on past experience.

Planning Close-up by Dan Foy via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Detailed planning is the primary method used to try to predict things like consumer demand, financial costs, what market conditions are likely to be and from where the competition will probably come.  When a lot is already known, these methods work perfectly well.

However, many entrepreneurs, Sarasvathy says, are more likely to be like the improviser cook rummaging through the cupboards of a new-to-them kitchen.  They are more likely to be the ones who experiment and play and come up with new ideas that have never been seen before.

Success in the business world does depend on predictability and reliable results so there will always be a need for procedural, detailed planning.

However, in this world of accelerated change, it is also a very good idea to develop the ability to experiment and try out new approaches, to practice “experimental innovation.”


  •  Experiment.  Learn by doing.  Fail quicker and learn faster.  Develop experiments and prototypes to gather insights and identify problems as you build up to creative ideas.
  • Develop an attitude of playfulness and humor.  Let ideas incubate and hatch.  Suspend premature judging games and let the idea grow as it will.
  • Soak up life. Take the time to get out into the world to get fresh ideas or insights.  Reflect on and try to understand human motivations and desires so you can address meeting them in a new, cooler way.  Figure out how things work from the ground up so you can build the thing well.
  • Define problems, find solutions.  Use the insights you gather throughout this process to define the problems and needs you are encountering so that you can find the solutions that will resolve them.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel.  Make use of small wins to make necessary pivots and course corrections when they’re needed and eventually you’ll find a way to complete this project you’re doing.  (It probably won’t turn out exactly as you pictured it.)
  • Repeat, refine and test.  Repeat, refine and test.  Repeat, refine, and test.  Each time you do this you’ll have better insights, more information and a more complete framework for this thing you’re building.

Instead of a stately march, the experimental innovation mode is more like a goofy dance that sometimes actually makes it to Cool.

It seems to me that knowing how to waltz, tango, swing, and tap-dance as well as promenade can be a very good thing.  So can knowing how to wing it.

Here’s another poem…



I know I’ve heard the one about

The thousand-mile journey

Beginning with one step

At least a thousand times.

Everybody says it…

Over and over, ad nauseum,

Trying to get you to


The step that starts you on

The long, long journey.


Nobody ever tells you

There’s another part to it.

Nobody ever says,

“The path of a thousand miles ends in the heart.”

They forget to tell you that part.

And I have to think

How much EASIER it would’ve been to know

(As you started off on that thousand-mile walk)

That something so fine was waiting there at the end.

How do you quest when you’ve got no goal?

How do you even start?


Can you feel it?

Do you hear it?

Listen for the rest of the promise:

At the end of all the trials and tribulations

You will meet along the way,

The penultimate Holy Grail is one heart…

One all-too-human heart…

One glorious, beating, feeling heart

That’s open to the raw and scouring winds

Blowing through this old world…

Laying down the sound that powers your dance –

The sound behind compassion,

The one that invokes reverence, wonder and awe,

The one that bestows gratitude and untrammeled joy.


That back-beat, solid and strong,

Lifts up your tired feet and sets your body moving

To the pounding rhythm,

Whips right through you like a sonic BOOM-bada-BOOM-bada-BOOM.



Now you know.

Are ya gonna just sit there?

by Netta Kanoho

Heading picture credit:  Sunrise, Haleakala, Maui by blese via Flickr [BY-NC 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you…)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below and tell me your thoughts…..







22 thoughts on “STEP BY STEP BY STEP

  1. This is a meditative site. I can relax here and let the words waft around me. It describes but doesn’t require me to take action. Thoughtful, well-written, with images that match the text. And it’s clean. And for my part, I am heading for the destination, and I am enjoying the ride along the way.

    1. Hey Neil: Thank you for your visit and your comments. Hmmm….the problem is this thing is NOT supposed to be a meditative site. I’m supposed to be calling you guys to action, beating drums, hup-hup-hup. ARGH!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the visit. I do hope you’ll come again. And me, I’m going to go sit in a corner and re-think this thing! Again…. Sheesh!

  2. I love how you articulated that with each step we take, we get closer to our end goal. I’m currently reading a book about self-discipline which talks about the same concept. Even if we take small steps, so long as we never quit, we’ll eventually get where we want to go! 🙂 Thank you for the imagery you’ve created through your words, this is definitely something I plan to keep at the front of my mind each day! 🙂

    1. Hey Ashley: Thanks for the visit and your comments. I’m glad it helps! Please do come again….

  3. this is a really motivational.
    honestly i love this, it serves as a source of encouragement.
    I tried opening a restaurant but was afraid, you know why?.
    I’m afraid of losing. i have no one to motivate me honestly.
    but I felt good and encouraged, after reading this writeup.
    and please where can i get the copy of this ‘Peter Sims book, How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries’?.

    1. Hey Bibian:

      Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  If you click on the title of the Peter Sims book, it should take you to a link to Abe Books where you can get a copy of the book.  

      Please do come again….

  4. RoDarrick says:

    Hmm! This is an equivalent of a golden nugget for me. Life is always filled with hurdles irrespective of the area of attention or anything. So, the best way to win the race if life is just to keep on taking the step like a baby step. One at a time for each hurdle. Most especially when it comes to setting up as an entrepreneur, it requires more and very demanding,  I like the part of testing, trial and keeping up to try. Great post

    1. RoDarrick, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am glad the post is helpful to you.  

      I, too, like the idea of just doing baby-steps over and over again.  It’s amazing how far those babies can get with all those little steps!

      Please do come again….

  5. Pentrental says:

    Goals can be difficult to achieve sometimes, especially for the most ambitious. Setting realistic goals is important for the psyche. A step by step process is something to follow and it’s advisable not to get too far ahead of ourselves. I really like your suspended staircase analogy. Oh how I would not enjoy treading those stairs. I agree that a small change in one’s life can make a big difference. Little Bets looks like a really interesting book that I look forward to checking out through your link, well done!

    1. Pentrental, welcome back!  I know, right…that mountain staircase gives me the shudders too!  

      Please do come again….

  6. Feochadan says:

    It seems that any time I take on a new project it seems like the mist covered mountain that is totally insurmountable.  I have learned through life that the only way that I can get the large jobs done is to break it down into small steps and take them one at a time.

    You are completely correct in your observations that if one small set does not work then we must try something new.  The finished project may then not look as we thought in the beginning – it’ll be even better!  We must, however, look beyond the mountain or else we will never take that first small step.

    The ideas you have presented can be used in everything in life – from business projects to decluttering one’s home!  Small steps make all the difference!

    1. Thanks for visit and for sharing your thoughts, Feochadan.  

      You know, the cool thing about taking SMALL steps is that it’s unlikely that anything catastrophic will happen between lifting that foot and putting it back down.  Also, if the step was a bum move, it’s way easy to correct the move.

      Please do come again.

  7. Henderson says:

    Your posts are always really inspiring and encouraging. I agree with you when you say Breaking things down into smaller and smaller bits can help one get to the final destination or projected resolution. I’ve had problems and I always try to take everything head on, I feel if I had broken them down, it would’ve been a better result. Your poem is also easy to read. I’ll put your strategies to mind too. Overall, great post here.

    1. Henderson, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad you found the post helpful.

      It is a truth…all of us have this tendency to try to make BIG changes, take BIG steps, do it all in one go.  It’s uncomfortable, being in the middle of discontent and we want out of there as fast as possible.

      It’s a bit counterintuitive making little moves, but if you do one a day, the thing can move along at a pretty good pace and course corrections don’t require such massive effort.

      Please do come again.

  8. Very good video. Good photos and lots of metaphorical information to broaden the mind. These are helpful strategies on a well written checklist that are really beneficial to my wife and I right now as life is beautiful and one thing people miss is soaking up life. Everyone deserves to be happy and enjoy life. Music is life in every form especially poems.

    1. Trevor, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad the post was helpful for you.

      You are right, you know.  You gotta dance, man…just…dance!

      Please do come again.

  9. DashDNations says:

    I procrastinate like crazy. i’ve always got big ideas and big plans but then I get overwhelmed and push it off or find excuses to do it later. 

    Breaking it down into small, easy task that I can focus on helps me finish projects. For years, I never finished projects, there was always something else to do.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, DashD Nations.  Step-by-step-by-step really does work!

      Please do come again.

  10. I liked the analogy you built with cooking. I love cooking and it resounded with me. Yes, we all have different styles of cooking. And our steps will be very personal. 

    But, it’s good to know we can be going up this stairway, even though we don’t have the same style of those that surround us.

    1. Ann, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad the post was helpful to you.  

      You’re right, you know.  Your own style gets you up those stairs your own way.  And that’s a good thing!

      Please do come again.

  11. Jenni Elliott says:

    Hello Netta, I really enjoyed reading your article Step by Step by Step. What you say in the article is what we all actually know and conveniently forget about.

    I think I’m more of a set meal type of cook, but I’d love to be able to wing it at times. I guess I’d have the capacity to do it, I just need to take the first step.

    Thank you for sharing the poem. I had, of course, heard the saying “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”, but never knew its origins. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I think you’re right, Jenny.  Very often, we do tend to forget the basic stuff.  I’ve never really figured out why that is.  I’m glad you enjoyed the poem.

      Please do come again.

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