This piece shared through a content partnership with Delivering Happiness and Zappos.
Have you ever had a dream that felt so big, so meaningful, that you had a difficult time even wrapping your head around when or how to start?
For me, this dream was photography. I’ve loved photography since I was a kid. There was something so magical about capturing moments and watching them spring back to life in the darkroom. As a young adult, I longed to delve deeper into digital photography, but figured I’d do so once I had more time, more money, and felt really ready to commit.
Eventually I realized that I was never going to be 100% ready. And while I might have more money in the future, it’s unlikely I’ll have more time. After eyeing photography classes online for months, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for a night course.
Taking action and registering for this one class had a powerful domino effect. One seemingly small action step forward led to massive progress and momentum. Here’s what I’ve learned happens when you focus your energy on the next micro-step towards your goal, and finally take action:
- You experience the power of investing in yourself.You make a big statement to yourself that you are committed to your growth and willing to support it. Gifting yourself an opportunity to develop is incredibly self-loving and empowering. And, you show up more intentionally.
- Taking action in one area of your life spurs action in other areas.Taking action—and the resulting joy you experience—brings other unfulfilled areas of interest into focus. It’s freeing to just go for it and put indecision to rest. Once you get a taste of this freedom, you realize there’s not much to lose in just trying.
- You grow faster. The hardest part is often just showing up and putting yourself out there. Organized group or class settings force you to be disciplined, push yourself and receive constructive feedback. Making a regular, scheduled commitment (especially one you’ve already paid for) pushes you to grow steadily – how could you not? – and keeps you from putting your passion on the backburner out of comfort or laziness.
- You rediscover the joy of learning.You reawaken the part of yourself that loves absorbing new knowledge purely for pleasure. Your brain seizes the opportunity for the fresh stimulation, new material, and challenges.
- You’re pushed out of your comfort zone, and forced to embrace a growth mindset.If you’re a perfectionist, you have to flex your growth muscle to overcome the desire to be naturally skilled at something before you’ve even learned or practiced it. As you make mistakes, you have the opportunity to embrace challenges instead of getting discouraged or holding yourself to an unrealistic standard. You give yourself permission to play and stumble.
- You exude passion. When you’re engaging in an activity you love, there is an undeniable creative force that shines through you—one that those around you can’t help but notice. Passion is palpable, and energy and enthusiasm are contagious. You will likely inspire others and be supported in unexpected ways. When you take yourself more seriously in your pursuit, and are vocal about it, friends, family and coworkers will likely take notice and want to support your success too.
The night my photography class ended, I enthusiastically registered for another course that would continue challenging me creatively while equipping me with new technical skills. The best part about this whole process is that the momentum is real: all it takes is identifying and moving on that first action step to kick off a domino chain reaction. Naturally, opportunities will flow your way—and with less and less hesitation, you will seize them.
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Delivering Happiness and Tony Hsieh