Most of us have heard or experienced the saying “two steps forward and one step back” at one point of our life. Initially, it can be viewed as negative, but flip it to “one step backward and two steps forward”, and it is viewed as positive. Both sayings yield the same result, further proving that words matter!! Either way you phrase it, the dance of two steps forward and one step back is forward . Yet, it is important to remember that progress is not always linear. Whether it’s two steps forward, two steps back or climbing a mountain, progress is up and down and back and forth before you get to the view or to the finish line.
We all have our setbacks, but it’s how we bounce back from them that matters the most. I recently started to lift weights after many years of doing little to no exercise. After getting back into the habit, I was often impatient with the result. While I took two steps forward with the quick muscle gains, the weight gain followed, a step backward. ☹
I was frustrated with the dance. If I work out, I should lose weight, that’s how it’s supposed to work. I took a deep breath as I came off the scale with a plan to revise my eating habits. Initially, my weight came down, two steps forward. Then I plateaued, impatience struck again. Although my friends who had gone through this reassured me it was normal; my body was just adjusting and protecting itself (fight or flight), it was still frustrating. A few days later I was back on track, another two steps forward.
I have, as we all do, a choice to make. I can either wait for the other shoe to drop and worry about what the next backward step will be or stay in the moment and enjoy my success. Since I am a positive person, I chose to stay in the moment and if or when the next backward step happens, I’ll adjust as I have been doing. Maybe I will add that crazy walk my friend suggested back into my routine. ?
When I ran large projects, it was the same way. There were almost always backward steps; addition of scope, last minute changes that would have greater implications, the software not doing what it was supposed to. No matter what the step backward was, there was always eventually a step or two forward, just like a dance (which I am bad at, by the way). The trick is to keep moving and pushing forward, to just keep dancing.
Sometimes, to make progress you must dance as if no one is watching. ?
“Sometimes it’s three steps forwards and two steps back, but you’re still one step ahead of where you used to be.”– Mike Breaux
Let me know what you are dancing toward this weekend.