Accountability: What is the step close in?

Nov 03, 2021

In one of my favorite poems, David Whyte says: “Start close in. Don’t take the second step,  or the third. Start with the first thing close in. The step you don’t want to take…” 

When I feel overwhelmed by life or the changes I want to make, and I don’t know where to start, I come back to this David Whyte poem.

In fact, one of my mantras is: “What is the step close in?”

All sustainable change (change that lasts) starts with a tiny step. What makes it last is the three pillars of neuroplastic change: 

Time, Focus and Repetition.

Doing it over a period of Time; Focusing and enhancing your attention while doing it; and doing it again and again so it gets entrained in the habit part of the brain.

Start with the First Step, the step close in.

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Last year I went through some massive changes that impacted almost every area  of my life. There were a few days that I didn’t get out of bed, and many days that I only got out of bed to do a zoom call with a client. 

I knew my body needed time to rest, but at some point, I became stuck in the inertia of it all. The idea of getting it together felt so overwhelming, just thinking about it used up any energy I might have had. 

Miraculously I stumbled upon the Feel Good Game, an accountability group put on by some acquaintances of mine. Mostly it was a bunch of (I say this with the utmost love!)  new age, millennial men habit hacking their way to even greater success. I didn’t feel particularly relatable, but I also didn’t have enough energy for my ego to get in the way. 

The thing is, I am a habit expert. I have a lot of experience both personally and professionally. I definitely know What to do…So why did this group become the tipping point for me? 

The simple no frills check in once a week and the two second daily accountability check mark I sent to my partner. (That, and the friendships I built).

Making it simple. Not having to “get it all together” but rather, just starting with the step close in, which for me was starting with just taking a walk around my square block once a day, and having an accountability partner and group to anchor with, made all the difference for me.

A walk around one block led to 10 minutes of walking, which led to 20 minutes, which led to a 30 minute exercise class, which led to finally having the energy to engage with life again, which led to reawakening into extraordinary opportunities and connections. 

We all have seasons. Whether you are in a season of healing, or a season of getting ready to blow the top off of life, all lasting change starts with a tiny step and a friend to hold the light.

I wonder what change could you begin to catalyze if you started just with the step close in , and had someone supporting you along the way?

I hope to see you in one of our Accountability Labs, where together,  we can devise weekly experiments to help you make the changes you want, so you can live the life you desire!

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Love,

Ara