Don’t chase your big dream, live it one little step at a time

by Craig McBreen · 72 comments · Breaking out


You might be thinking, gee thanks Grand Master. You make it sound oh so easy, wizardly one.

Well, truth be told, it’s not as tough as you make it out to be. Seeing your dreams come to fruition involves a truckload of work and that’s why many start, but never finish.

They talk about an enterprise and even think it through. They might even put pen to paper and devise a plan. Been there. So done that.

But, but … here comes the unromantic part. The unexciting little ingredient that doesn’t sound so dreamlike and fun.

Okay, you ready?

You must have a set of baby steps to see it through.

No duh, right? But I would comfortably say nine times out of 10, excluding these fundamental and essential steps means “poof” goodbye dream.

It might be the fact that these steps are so matter-of-fact and unromantic.

Or they are too much work.

Maybe some dreamers are not workers.

Honestly, there could be a multitude of reasons and excuses, and life does get pretty complicated.

You knew that, right?

But nine times out of 10 the dream killer is you. Yes, you.
It is that lack of committing to the utilitarian, day-to-day work. Yet, that daily effort doesn’t have to be so difficult, we just make it so.

Truth is, we often overcomplicate things. Human beings excel at this and I was a master at turning simple into complex for years. I’ve learned to drill-down though and now I feel like I’m on cruise control, one little step at a time.

If you’re ambitious, have a hankering and you really, truly want to make IT happen, set aside an hour each day and figure it out.

You can do one hour.

Feel what is burning within and choose your passage, your way.

Mind map.

Write out a short and sweet business plan.

And then write down your first baby steps. And remember to follow-through.

You might already have an idea what your tiny steps are and if so, why in the world can’t you start on step one today?

C’mon. One step after another. Day in and day out.

Plan.

Keep on dreaming.

But commit to one small step at a time and start designing your way forward.

Do you have a dream?

If you’re already THERE how did you make it happen?

What has stopped you in the past?

 

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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Dickinson May 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

“But nine times out of 10 the dream killer is you. Yes, you.
It is that lack of committing to the utilitarian, day-to-day work. Yet, that daily effort doesn’t have to be so difficult, we just make it so.”

I agree 100% my friend – I have seen it over and over again in my own business and in the business of my clients.

Action is key. Consistent, un sexy, daily action.

The second key is to make the un sexy fun.

Great stuff Craig!!
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Craig McBreen May 9, 2012 at 12:16 am

Hi Frank!

Yes … “Consistent, un sexy, daily action.” is indeed key.

I wouldn’t exactly say blogging is sexy, but it is fun ;)

Thanks and great to see you here.

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Joe D. May 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I’m doing this with fitness stuff now. Baby steps, one day at a time. I would have liked to do some form of exercise every day in May, but I already missed 5/3, so I’m shooting for 30 out of 31 days. I know if I can do something at least 27 days out of 30 (even if it’s just a few sprints with my dog Cooper), I’ll make a goal that is giant in my mind: to be in the best shape of my life by my 50th birthday in March.

Baby steps…
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Craig McBreen May 9, 2012 at 12:19 am

Hi Joe,

Man, 30 out of 31 days! Have at it! But I do think 27 would be enough ;)

You should go back to my last post and click on the video link at the end. Nothing like a Rocky scene to get you going, even if your just racing Cooper.

You and I have similar goals, regarding fitness and age.

Great to see you!

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Lori Gosselin May 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Hey Craig!
I love the idea of baby steps. I think we need both an end goal and all the feeling that goes with it (which creates “knowing”) and the baby steps which slowly but surely will take you to that end goal.
Lori
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Craig McBreen May 9, 2012 at 12:20 am

Hi Lori,

For me, it’s the only way. I need to plan out slow incremental steps or nothing gets done.

But you’re right, we certainly do need that feeling.

Thanks and great to see you here.

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Deeone Higgs May 9, 2012 at 12:01 am

I think someone has been sipping on some motivational crunk juice! :D This was awesome, Craig!

You bring up great points… baby steps are definitely the way to go. Trying to do too much, too soon over a long period of time, spells “Burnout!” And that’s where the murder begins.

You’re also right about that “dream killer.” (insert horror soundtrack of your choice here) :)) I am working daily on that joker! I think I spend more time trying to kill the dream killer than I do working on the dream; and I put my WORK in on the dream. So that let’s you know how much that sucker is at work. I will be applying those baby steps for my secret plot to take the dream killer out! How’s that for multi-tasking! :D

Another great one, mate! Thanks for sharing!
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Craig McBreen May 9, 2012 at 12:29 am

Hi Deeone,

Indeed! ;) I do wonder what a character like Lil Jon would make of this type of post? I do love to say “crunk juice!” ;)

You’re right, the key is to maintain focus. Focus on one little thing at a time, but remember to have some fun along the way. If you ain’t enjoying it, you’ll crash.

Like I said, turning simple into complex was my problem. Whittling down all into bite-sized chunks is way easier. It takes planning and determination, but just about everything worth it does, right?

Thanks for stopping in, Mr. Higgs.

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Deeone Higgs May 11, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Indeed it does, my friend, indeed it does. :) Planning and determination is detrimental to ones success. Without the two, would sorta be like having a milkshake without the shake. :D At some point, a person should figure out that it’s just a scoop of ice cream dumped into a cup of milk. Totally not the same! LOL It has to be shaken! :D
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Craig McBreen May 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Love the anology. Now I’m thirsty for a milkshake. Not the fake one either, one with real ice cream ;)

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Jackie May 9, 2012 at 7:27 am

It reminds me of the saying Craig…the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Immediate gratification chasing is responsible for killing off the tenacity needed to follow through in my opinion. Everyone is so used to having it NOW that they’re not prepared to take the small steps that are needed to acheive great goals.

But maybe thats me wearing my cynical cap today.

I’m with you though. Set it in motion. Manage yourself in the moment. Take Action = Results /Goals Achieved.
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Craig McBreen May 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Hi Jackie,

“the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
–Indeed, it does!

You’re right about instant gratification, so right! And I like what Lori said about and end goal and the feeling that goes with it … people should think about this instead of instant gratification.

I don’t think that’s cynical, just an observation of truth :)

“Manage yourself in the moment”
–Love that!

Thanks for stopping in. Great to see you here.

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John Falchetto May 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

Simply, yet hugely powerful Craig.

I always say my work is to remind people of the obvious.
Too often we know the solution, break it down into small steps to reach a goal, yet how often do we take action and ACTUALLY break it down?

There is huge power in implementing the obvious, simply because 99% of people don’t do it.
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Craig McBreen May 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Hi John,

Thank you. Simple beliefs that have kept me on course.

I think you’re correct. The great majority of people don’t do this. I didn’t do this for too many years.

I guess in your coaching business this simple practice comes as a revelation to most business owners.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Ralph May 9, 2012 at 10:25 am

I have a dream……who said that (he asks facetiously)?

Well, sure. One day at a time, one step at a time for sure is the right way. The dip. There is it looming in front of me. The vortex sucking me in. The work necessary to take each step piling up. The uncertainty of what to do next……..

Naaaaaaa…….but I am totally with you. Sticking to a plan is a big deal for sure and that’s really the key message here, right? No plan = no consistency.

Hey, but there’s another killer out there that I wanted to ask you about. Cruise control. I get what you are saying but don’t we want to be challenging our plan to make sure it stays relevant? Letting the foot off the gas a bit here to make sure the plan is still current and relevant. Just a though, my friend.

Love the crunk juice. Where do I get me somma dat?

Let me leave you all with this….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCCbr6dsoG4&feature=player_detailpage
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Craig McBreen May 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Hi Ralph,

Like John said, taking the time to actually break it down to those steps is most important. Then of course, you must master the art of the follow-through.

You’re right about cruise control. Probably not the best choice of words, as you do need to stop, evaluate and tweak. My business plan is constantly evolving, and I imagine yours is too. Nice point indeed!

I think Deeone is the keeper of the crunk juice.

… “I’m so hungry I could eat a wagon wheel of cheese.” ;)

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Adam May 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Hey Craig,

Someone once said that people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in 5. I think that underestimating the commitment to the daily grind, the mundane steps that underlie the larger goal is a big part of that. Because it’s not flashy and it’s usually a lot slower than you thought it would be.

I have to drop one of my favorite quotes here (Pres. Coolidge): “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”

Really good stuff Craig!
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Al Smith May 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Thanks Adam. My dad had that one on a plaque in his office and always talked about Persistence and Perseverance. Love it.

Al
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Craig McBreen May 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I think I’ll print and post :)

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Craig McBreen May 9, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Hey Adam,

Indeed! If you think a task will take one hour, plan for three ;) Every task always takes longer than you think, and you’re right, they usually aren’t flashy.

President Coolidge, huh? “… The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”
–Hurah! That that and the quote in its entirety :)

One of my favorite quotes, ever …
“The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.”
–Thomas Edison

Thanks, Adam!

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Jens P. Berget May 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Hi Craig,

I absolutely agree.

Your post reminds me of a talk I watched on YouTube by Anthony Robbins about how to live a happy life. And he told us that there is one simple word that is true for everyone when it comes to happiness. And that’s progress. We need to experience progress in order to be happy. It doesn’t matter who we are, progress is vital :)
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Craig McBreen May 10, 2012 at 12:29 am

Hi Jens,

Great point, and it’s good to reward yourself somehow. I also like what Mr. Robbins says about a weekly review and how important it is to reflect on your accomplishments. Nice post on it here: http://liveyourlegend.net/how-tony-robbins-plans-his-week-my-5-step-process-free-worksheet/

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Jens P. Berget May 10, 2012 at 4:56 am

That’s awsome. I haven’t read that blog post.

Thanks a lot.
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Craig McBreen May 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm

It’s a great guide to follow!

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Suddenly Jamie May 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Yes – baby steps are a good way to get anywhere. One small forward movement after another, and suddenly you look back and are amazed at the ground you’ve covered.

There’s something else I read into your title as well. To me, “live it one step at a time” also means to BE the person you want to be one day at a time. Stop telling yourself the same sad story of “someday” and step into the life you want to live. It doesn’t have to be complete. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just take that hour and be the writer/artist/speaker/philosopher/whatever you want to be. Don’t just DREAM that life – LIVE it. BE that person. If you want to be the writer who spends her days hacking away at the keyboard while seated at the corner table of the local coffee house. Go – do that. If you want to be someone who spreads a love of reading with kids – volunteer at your local library. If you want to be a speaker, inspiring others with your words and ideas, find a group to listen to you and go speak.

Dreams are lovely. They are motivating. They are the playground of your imagination. But make sure some of your steps happen in the real world – make you push past your comfort zone – help you feel what it feels like to be living your dream instead of just dreaming it.

Nothing is more motivating. I promise.
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Craig McBreen May 10, 2012 at 12:44 am

Hi Jamie,

This is the only way I get things done. Reflect and plan each and every week, then write out the small steps I’ll take.

… “BE the person you want to be one day at a time”
–I like that. The first step to becoming that someone you want to be is proclaiming that you are … “I am a speaker,” “I am a writer,” etc. Great points. We need to believe and this is a great step.

And “Someday” doesn’t work, does it?

“But make sure some of your steps happen in the real world – make you push past your comfort zone – help you feel what it feels like to be living your dream instead of just dreaming it.”
–Right on! :) And it doesn’t take much really. It might be as simple as emailing that one person, making a call or committing to running just five miles in one week, it’s a start and a step in the process, right?

Extremely motivating and thoughtful comments, Jamie. Thanks for popping in, really appreciate it!

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Al Smith May 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Thanks Craig. What are you, Mr. Motivator now ? This is great, man. you know I love all this inspiring and motivation. We need more of it. So many good things here. I need to refocus on the baby steps and keeping it simple. I have so many thoughts and ideas on CARE and how we all “need it” A good friend told me to break it down and simplify. Gonna work on that today. Big things coming soon.

The dream is to share the CARE message with the world. One person at a time.

Let me know when we can talk. Tomorrow or Friday ? Take CARE.

Al
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Craig McBreen May 10, 2012 at 12:48 am

Hi Al,

I’m trying to catch up with you and your energy.

Taking the time to actually break it all down (planning) is most important and honestly one of the most important points of my week. Without it I would be lost. After that … it’s all about the art of the follow-through, something you do rather well. I know that :)

I sent you a message and am looking forward to talking, Sir! Looking forward to hearing about the big things going on with the CARE movement.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Shelley May 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I am following my dreams… baby steps… and i’m doing it by honouring me. I’ve spent so many yearsreaching for success and perfecting a persona wihtout realising that true success comes from believing in yourself, honouring your passion and following your dreams. I am proud ot say that today i am doing just that. Babysteps. Thank you for the reminder that babysteps are ok.

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Craig McBreen May 10, 2012 at 12:54 am

Hi Shelley,

Believing in yourself is a must and I think it’s important to say (even if it’s only silently to yourself) who you are, not who you want to be, that’s a great step in honoring yourself.

“I am proud to say that today I am doing just that. Babysteps.”
–Great to hear!

You’re most welcome for the reminder.

Thank you for dropping by with some thoughtful comments. Great to see you here!

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Hajra May 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Hi Craig!

I am back! :)

This was too much to take especially when I have over 800 posts from the past three weeks in my reader! :( But then, I ain’t commenting on all of them… (cheeky grin!)

Back to the post, my dad always tells me this. Have dreams and see how you can fulfill them. But don’t run after them because then you miss life in between, and that is never coming back. And that makes so much sense. Have the big picture in mind, but keep the smaller moments alive. But then again, every step should remind or at least be a little bit to your dream. Hope that made sense!

Glad to be back! :)
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Craig McBreen May 10, 2012 at 12:57 am

Hajra,

So how was India? It was India, right? ;)

Well if anyone could comment on 800 posts, it would be you and each one would be rather lengthy ;) That’s some skill you have there and I’m not sure how you do it.

“But don’t run after them because then you miss life in between, and that is never coming back.”
–One of the best lines I’ve heard. Your father is a wise, wise man.

It’s nice (read: great) to have that big vision, but the small steps should be “alive” moments. Love it and it makes perfect sense.

Glad you’re back. Thanks!

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Hajra May 10, 2012 at 7:12 am

It was India! :)

And my friend and her husband are moving to Seattle… they are flying as I write this! Isn’t that where you are?

I really have lost the commenting craze somehow… I really don’t know why. Reading is something I have managed to catch up to… commenting is another story :(
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Craig McBreen May 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Cool, hope you will write about it!

Yes, I’m in Seattle. What city is your friend moving from?

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Hajra May 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Her husband works at Microsoft. He resides in Redmond.
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Craig McBreen May 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Okay. I used to contract at Microsoft … many moons ago ;)

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Bill Dorman May 9, 2012 at 11:55 pm

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”….oh wait, someone else came up with that one………..

In many ways I have exceeded my expectations, but in others I feel I could still do so much more. A lot of it depends on the fire in the belly, and whether it’s a good thing or not I don’t know, but I’m fairly content these days.

Getting into social got me fired up a little bit; I’m waiting for the next spark to give me direction……..we’ll see where it takes me.
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Craig McBreen May 10, 2012 at 1:03 am

Hi Bill,

No problem with inspirational quotes. Mr Toporek even dropped a President Coolidge quote.

“In many ways I have exceeded my expectations, but in others I feel I could still do so much more.”
–I feel the same way. Fairly content, but with way more fire than in the past.

Interesting how social can get people so fired up. Life-changing even. I imagine the next spark will involve that little writer’s hangout? :)

Thanks for stopping by and hope the sun will be shining tomorrow in FLA.

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Jill Tooley May 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

–Ode from “Music and Moonlight”, by Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy (and spoken by Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka)

I felt that was appropriate! :)

My self-doubt is the only thing that ever stops my dreams in their tracks. That little voice in my head takes over and tells me how crappy I am, and that I’ll fail if I try something challenging. I’ve listened to it for years. Slowly but surely, though, I’m learning how to tell that voice to take a permanent hike!
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Craig McBreen May 10, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Hi Jill,

Thank you for that! Most appropriate and a brilliant addition … that’s why I love the comments! And frankly I’m a guy who digs poetry.

And you always Bring It!

Self-doubt will stop you dead in your tracks and can suck the life right out of you. I’m so glad you’re dealing with negative self-talk. When you learn to tame the noise and the fear response, things do start happening, but more importantly you’re happier and there’s a bit of freedom in that!

I want to know when the novel is done :)

Thanks, Jill.

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Adrienne May 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm

It’s usually the fear of the unknown Craig that gets them every time. I hate that but at some point you just have to say to hell with it. I’m doing it anyway and if it works great, if not, oh well. At least I gave it my all and went for it. You’ll never know otherwise.

Just one step at a time, that’s the real key here! Amen to that my friend.
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Craig McBreen May 10, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Hi Adrienne,

“… at some point you just have to say to hell with it.”
–I love, love that. That “to hell with it” moment is great, and freeing too. Experimentation and failure … nothing wrong with that. It’s how we learn, right?

Here’s to those baby steps. :)

Thanks, Adrienne!

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Jeevanjacobjohn May 11, 2012 at 12:42 am

Yes, Craig. I have a dream. I have a dream to redefine the tech-business industry (well, not the computer industry, but the tech industry that took us from wheels to cars).

Right now, my goal is to build a business with blogging. Then, later I can use my revenue to invest in the tech industry (So, I do have a plan).

I am committed to that plan (of course, I do plan to make it happen). But the only thing is that there are some issues in between (indirect issues, that I can’t really control, but hope it will be settled soon).

I do dream. Dream on what I can (and should) do when I am up with my business. Dream to build better products with more efficiency and more eco-friendliness.

Dreaming. Planning. Doing. Mistakes. Success. Everything matters. Mistakes are like those baby steps we make before we learn to walk (We need to learn to fall first; learn to fail). I think I have learned enough with failing. I am trying harder, to achieve what I want.

Thanks for the inspirational post, Craig,

Jeevan
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Craig McBreen May 11, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Hi Jeevan,

Can I call you, Jeevan? Well, I would say that is quite a plan and I for one would love to read the details.

So many issues pop up that we simply can’t control. Sometimes they are little bumps on the way that strangly turn into opportunities or at least get you to think differently about a specific issue or goal.

You’re so right. We need to plan, experiment, make a few mistakes along the way and readjust.

“We need to learn to fall first; learn to fail”
–Indeed.

Thank you so much for coming by and let us know how things progress.

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Jeevanjacobjohn May 11, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Yes, you can, Craig. Jeevan is what I go by (it is my first name).

Yes, chances, destiny, fate or whatever we call it. We can’t control them, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Like you said, we should just try to convert them into positive opportunities.

No problem, Craig. I am glad to join this awesome community of yours :)

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Craig McBreen May 11, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Ha ha, yes, of course! I just wanted to confirm! :)

I’m so glad you’ve commented and hope you come back. Great to have you here!

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Jack@TheJackB May 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm

People sometimes forget that success if often made up of hundreds of small steps. Little victories go a long way.
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Craig McBreen May 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Hi Jack,

Indeed! And I am chalking up those small victories. Gotta throw a little party for yourself every once in a while.

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Erin Feldman May 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I needed to read your post today. I was feeling a little discouraged about my e-letters. Back to the e-letter millstone…
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Craig McBreen May 11, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Hi Erin,

What exactly were you discouraged about?

Glad you’re cranking again though! When you whittle goals down to specific, actionable and realistic incremental steps, you move.

I constantly have to revisit and tweak, but it’s an immense help.

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Erin Feldman May 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I’m a little tired of constantly testing what format’s best and what content’s best and what’s the best way to present that content, et cetera, et cetera. I never quit sending the letters; I’m just trying to figure out the best use for them and what value they actually add.
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Craig McBreen May 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Have you asked your readers via email or with a post?

By the way, your new site looks great, and love the stand-out logo!

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Erin Feldman May 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I’ll have to try doing that again. I haven’t had much success with that in the past, but it could be different this time.

Thanks! I use that logo on everything – the e-letter, my business cards…I think my little Write Right girl is one of the elements that differentiates me from other writing coaches/consultants. I also have way too much fun playing dress up with her when I draw new cartoons or work on illustrations for some posters/downloadable PDFs I’m creating…
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Craig McBreen May 11, 2012 at 8:53 pm

If so, let me know how it works. I’ll be doing a lot of this, mainly through email, so I can find what people really need help with. Maybe we can compare notes.

It certainly does differentiate you!!

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Erin Feldman May 11, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I think I’ll go the post route first. I’ll have to find a spot to put it in the editorial calendar. I might have a few free spots next week. :)

I just sent an e-letter today, and I have a special item I’m sending to only subscribers in the next two weeks, so I may hold off with sending another email. I don’t want to be irritating.

Yes, let’s compare notes! I’ll take all the help I can get and hope that I can help other people while doing that.
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Craig McBreen May 11, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Hi Erin,

Yes, don’t irritate your followers ;) Well, don’t email them every day ;)

Sounds good to me!

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Kaarina Dillabough May 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Taking the steps. Livin’ the dream. Cheers! Kaarina
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Craig McBreen May 15, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Cheers to that! :)

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Sandi Amorim May 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I’m sure my clients get so very tired of hearing me say, “small steps consistently over time” but like you I’m going to keep saying it! I think people sabotage themselves by waiting for the BIG breakthrough actions, but those rarely make the difference like baby steps!

Also? Every time someone utters the word ‘someday’…a dream (and maybe even a unicorn) dies :(
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Craig McBreen May 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Hi Sandi,

I think you’re right, people often don’t want to hear it.

It’s like a person setting a goal such as “I want to make $XXX this year, but they forget to drill-down to the specific actions to take them there.

If you wait, nothing’s gonna happen, that’s for sure ;)

“Also? Every time someone utters the word ‘someday’…a dream (and maybe even a unicorn) dies”
–That’s funny! I guess you hear a lot of “somedays,” huh?

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Sandi Amorim May 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Haha, actually the opposite. People know me well enough by now to know that if they use the word someday in conversation I’m gonna challenge them ;-)
Sandi Amorim recently posted..How to Shatter Glass With Your MindMy Profile

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Craig McBreen May 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm

That’s why most people trying to make IT happen need a coach or a mentor :) They need to be challenged.

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