An ordinary event occurred at work today. A meeting request arrived in my Inbox this afternoon. There was no indication of a conflict, so I accepted the invitation. But something inside of me said that I needed to check my calendar for the rest of the week. I did. Only to find that there was very little time during the next few days that was not already scheduled for me.
The anxiety started to creep in as I thought about the deadlines hurdling toward me. As if my schedule for the next couple of days did not turn up the heat enough I decided to peek at my calendar for next week. Different names and meeting titles appeared in the time slots, but the same volume of meetings and calls showed on my agenda for the coming week. I thought about all that I needed to do. I wondered how I would get everything done.
As I pondered my situation, I moved my mouse cursor to open one of the requests to see more details about that particular meeting. Instead of opening the meeting request I accidentally changed the view of my calendar. At that point I only saw my schedule for today, not for the entire week. When I only looked at a day rather than a week, a sense of calm flowed over me. As the saying goes, I could not see the trees for looking at the forest. My obligations did not change, but how I saw them did. I had a new perspective.
I sometimes get a bit intimidated when I try to tackle a large task without looking at the smaller components that are a part of the bigger picture. Life can be like that. We sometimes go through periods where we encounter challenge after challenge. After awhile we start to see one big problem. If we try to address the one big problem we may fail, because we have not dealt with the smaller issues that are a part of it. Even challenges that seem impossible to overcome may look more resoluble when we break them down into smaller pieces.
I’m learning to pick one piece of a task or problem at a time and focus on it rather than looking at the matter as a whole and panicking. When that part is completed, I move on to the next piece and handle it. The reality is that I make more progress and accomplish more when when I focus on and deal with one thing at a time.
Yes, we need to be able to visualize the big picture, but the big picture should not keep us from seeing the little pieces that make up the whole. Is there a task or challenge in your life that is overwhelming you by its size? Perhaps breaking it into smaller parts can help you shift from “I can’t possibly to this” to “Yes, I see a way to accomplish this.” After all, pretty much anything that we do in life is like walking. We have to take one step at a time.
“One may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time.” – John Wanamaker
See. Live. Enjoy.