Greek philosopher Plato is quoted as having said “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”
I often agree with this. To start a new project, chore or duty can often be the most daunting task. We procrastinate. We make excuses. We find something or someone else that “needs” our attention.
Sound familiar? It does for me.
Then the guilt sets in. That nagging voice inside the head no longer muffles herself and speaks up.
So we start. We begin.
Deep breath. Sigh. Let’s do this. Get it over with already…
Then that strange thing happens. Once I dig in, I find a groove. I develop a rhythm.
This afternoon my husband asked that we do some cleaning around the house, make room to actually see the closet floors in our daughter’s bedrooms. I groaned. We had just returned from an overnight stay at the beach. I needed to do laundry, cook two meals and prepare for the next day. But this task was important to him.
So we began. All of us helped. Six trash bags and two hours later, the kids’ rooms looked better than they had in years! Why was I so resistant to start? Cleaning isn’t fun for me. But the end results can be incredible. Purging unwanted, unused items can be therapeutic too.
What about more fun things? Why do some people feel cautious of them?
Four days ago my youngest daughter and I took a walk outside while my oldest daughter took a 30-minute piano lesson. It was a beautiful fall afternoon. I found chalk in my van and drew a hopscotch for us on the sidewalk. Pastel pink, purple, blue and yellow squares aligned the grey concrete. I drew a start sign, the numbers one through ten and lastly, a finish sign. I found a stick to use in place of a rock. I hopped around on one foot to demonstrate how to play.
My daughter didn’t know how to hop well on one foot so I showed her. At first she resisted. She enjoyed watching me and urged me to go again.
“Your turn now,” I said firmly but encouragingly to her.
Timidly, she finally took a first leap forward. I watched her smile and eyes light up after that.
Once my child began, once she took that first jump, she was ready to continue. She wanted to do it over and over again.
I even snapped a photo of her leaping into the air with a huge smile on her face. Her hair was pushed back. Her limbs were blurry from the fast movement.
Her expression captures that emotion of excitement – the joy of tackling that new thing you didn’t think you could do, you didn’t want to do or you just put off for awhile.
Taking that fresh start can be a hard thing to accomplish. But don’t be afraid to leap or hop or skip forward. Make yourself do it.
Tomorrow I begin a new job. I do feel ready to jump forward in this new profession. I’ll be writing full time for the first time ever in my career.
I will likely feel nervous, maybe even experience sweaty palms and “butterflies” in my stomach. But most of all I think I’m ready to get started – to begin the work. To leap into a new place with new people and new experiences ahead of me.
I look forward to sharing more of the journey as it unfolds, whether in pastel-colored squares, messy closets or the opportunity to promote health and wellness.
Think about how you can view each day as a fresh start. Make a leap. Either a leap in the air or just a leap of faith to try something new.