Piles of Small Steps

footprints in the sandMoving piles.  Yep, that’s the sign. I am definitely in trouble now. More specifically, mountains of students’ test papers seem to be relocating from one quadrant of my desk to another. Reminds me of last week when I was transplanting heaps of miscellaneous junk from the front of my garage to the back. Yeah, that was productive.

It usually takes me a few minutes to realize what is taking place. I have become overwhelmed with tasks in front of me and my mind drifts to the 1,001 other bullets on my “to-do” list. When this happens, my natural response seems to be some kind of unorthodox “shut-down” mode. I continue doing, but nothing is actually getting done. It’s almost like I try to fool myself, and possibly others around me, that I can’t possibly be anything but productive.

The reality is that my life is busy. Like countless others in our day and age, I am trying to spin way too many plates. My list of life responsibilities usually includes the following; husband, dad to five, public-school teacher, songwriter, part-time concert performer, music leader and small-group leader at my church, home-maintenance expert (hardly), and then a few other charges along the way.

Sometimes I just want to quit. I really can’t handle all of that. Maybe I should consider cutting back a little. Every time I think this way, a very important truth grips me like a vice. I seriously value each and every aspect of this crazy life and cannot imagine a reality with any missing. Trimming my responsibilities is just not an option.

So what is to be done? How can I transition from moving piles to making progress? The answer for me is simple. Small steps. Yes, small steps even when I have a million miles left to go. Huge strides prove to be exhausting, uncontrolled, and make me want to sit down. I prefer to start small.

So when I shake free from my self-induced stupor in places like my classroom and pray for strength, I know what needs to happen. Forget about the end destination for a moment and concentrate on what is right in front of my face. Make an answer key for the exams and get a few knocked out. Wow. That seems even more obvious as I write these words. For me, that’s what it takes.

Small steps.

Right now, as a musician and performer, I need to book shows early and often to ensure my upcoming summer season is a success. There are hundreds of people and institutions I could be contacting and I don’t know how to start. Small steps. The other day, when anxiety began to set in, I decided to send out just ten emails to prospective venues. Lo and behold, two more dates are now on my summer calendar. Focusing on a more manageable task helped me tremendously.

Small steps.

I could continue, but I think my point is clear. Concentrating on the end result for all my aspirations throws me into an unproductive, fluid paralyzation. Moving piles of various objects will never help me accomplish goals. Small steps. The fact is, I keep repeating this phrase for myself because I need to hear it during this incredibly busy season of my life. The road will be long and tedious for sure, but when I look back once in a while, something amazing is revealed. Day after day of many small steps leads to astounding progress. I choose to let this give me hope for a day when I will reach my final destination at just the right time.

Small steps. Small steps.


The Beginning
About Damien Drago

I am a husband to a better woman than I deserve and the father of five incredible blessings. I've been a 5th grade teacher for twelve years and also seek to educate young people through music and songwriting. I currently have one album of "RockinThruHistory" music published and another in the works. I also perform anywhere someone will let me on a stage.

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