Monday 26th November 2018 may prove to be a momentous day in my life. It happened to be my birthday, but that isn’t what made it potentially momentous. The most significant event on the day was when a US Immigration official at the embassy in London uttered four life-changing words: “Your Visa is approved”.
For thirty years I have dreamt of travelling coast-to-coast across America. Initially the subject of post-pub musings with my late father and more recently the focus of detailed planning and spreadsheeting, the dream has been steadily inching towards reality. The dream has morphed into visiting all 48 lower states in one trip – a journey of 14,000 miles and taking six months.
To make this big thing happen, lots of little things need to fall into place. And one of those is a ten year tourist visa, that allows you to visit for longer then three months in one trip – vital for our six-month odyssey.
Hence the momentous importance of those four words at the embassy. One more little thing that helps make the big thing happen.
Like much in my very enjoyable life, I owe a lot to the long-suffering Mrs Butler. With her we have researched, planned, scheduled and executed all that was required to secure the visa. We nearly stumbled at the last hurdle when the bus was delayed in traffic and we couldn’t run for the appointment because Mrs B is on crutches, but it all worked out and I hope you can sense I am overjoyed!
Achieving goals comes from a succession of little things that all add up to the big thing. When I see successful clients achieving their goals, it is always through lots of little decisions, and most importantly actions, that culminate in running a race, visiting a dream destination or selling their business.
When I see people and businesses struggling, it is often again because of the little things – choices made almost daily that culminate in lost sales prospects, unfulfilled customers, missed targets, unhappy staff or rudderless organisations. I accept that momentous bad things can knock us off our course (I have witnessed too many at close quarters not to appreciate that myself). However, we choose how we react to what life throws at us – and those little choices can help us overcome even significant challenges.
Are you aware of the little things that you choose to do and how they add up to big things?
What positive little things do you/could you do to help you move closer to that big goal?
What negative things do you do/could you stop that undermine your ability to succeed?
It will be 2021 before I make my trip round the USA, but I have done one more of the little things that will make it a reality.
As we left the embassy lifts, we saw an amazing quote from Robert Kennedy engraved in the lobby wall, from a speech he delivered in 1966, challenging apartheid. It merits quoting here:
Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others he sends forth a ripple of hope and… those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
What ripples of hope are you sending forth? What little things can you do today to make your dreams come true?
From being born in a council house to retiring early has been a long and often bendy path for me. But the big distance has been made of little steps. I’ve done it; my clients regularly do it. You can do it too. When you have a clearly defined goal, know the steps to get there and take the action you need to on a daily basis, amazing big things can happen.
Go on, get started.