First steps are always the hardest. It takes a great amount of courage to do something you have never done before, something you may fail at.
When I think about first steps, one thing I think about is babies. When babies take their first steps, we as parents celebrate every moment. We go nuts when they lift their head, roll, and crawl (all things that are very important when it comes to walking). Our excitement gets heightened when our babies try to pull themselves up to standing. And we can barely contain ourselves when for the first time our baby takes that bold, courageous move of taking their first step.
At each of those milestones, parents celebrate and give their baby praise and encouragement. As we should. (And we often do a lot of sharing on social media to document the moment and tell the world how amazing our baby is, as we should.)
But as our kids get older, our focus shifts from praising and celebrating the first steps to celebrating the end results. Getting a driver’s license, graduating from school, getting accepted to college, getting a job, getting married. None of these things just happen, they happen because of a lot of hard work to get to that spot, and they all happen because somewhere along the line, that first step was taken. However, these first steps often fail to inspire doting, cheering, praise, and positive feedback.
But why? Maybe we just accept them as things that should be.
First steps are hard.
Jim and I witnessed the struggle of taking that first step with our daughter when she was looking for a job. She never had a job before. She never had to search the Internet for places that were hiring, fill out applications, write a resume, go to interviews, face rejection. It was scary for her. And as we watched her go through this process it occurred to us that maybe we needed to be more like the parents who encourage a baby to take his or her first steps, cheering with every move.
Yes there are some fundamental differences in a baby learning to walk and a teenager getting their first job. But even with those differences, the thing to remember is, most of us need a little encouragement and celebration when we are about to do something new. Trying new things can be really scary, and it is easier to navigate scary things when you have people by your side cheering you on as you make your first steps.