This summer I kayaked for the first time ever. My brother Brian, a cardiologist, was my coach, and he was very patient with his older and not-very-co-coordinated sister.
As we ventured out into a tidal lagoon in Wellfleet on Cape Cod, he told me that the most important thing was to just keep paddling. Even if you don’t use a lot of strength, he said, you will be fine as long as you keep moving. If you stop, he added, the tide can just pull you backwards.
I have to tell you this took a while to sink in. I would paddle hard for a few minutes, and then my arms got sore, so I stopped. It was only when I took his advice and continued paddling that I finally got into a rhythm and moved forward.
It was while I was slowly moving forward with the sun glittering on the water, that I thought how important my brother’s words were. We so often exhaust ourselves struggling against our circumstances that we forget that sometimes the important thing in life is to just move forward. We put so much pressure on ourselves to make enormous strides that we undervalue small steps and consistent slow progress.
This can apply to anything: Starting a new business, beginning a fitness regime, eating more healthily, getting promoted, learning a new skill. The question is, are you at least moving forward? It doesn’t have to be frantic and you don’t have to panic. Just keep on paddling!