By focusing on 'petite' progress every day (not just on International Women's Day), your seemingly unachievable, impossible goals will fall within reach as the momentum of daily progress carries you forward.
There’s no doubt about it, there is momentum. There is more momentum than there has ever been. The growing, global movement of support for women and for greater gender inclusivity is gaining ground and whilst there is still much to be done, the increasing tide of advocacy is accelerating. #PressforProgress is a timely and topical theme for International Women’s Day 2018 and it’s an area that we couldn’t be more passionate about.
Progress, as defined by the Collins Dictionary is ‘the process of gradually improving or getting nearer to achieving or completing something’. Yes, it can be momentous progression, around momentous issues such as gender equality, but, at the individual level, progress can also mean micro steps – the tiniest of movements, toward smaller or more personal goals and fulfilment.
Too often, the size of the task ahead, seems unattainable. Too big a leap. Too huge. Too ambitious. Too impossible. Too often, we expect ourselves to be able to make one, quantum leap towards our goal. We doubt our ability, and we allow our confidence to fade when we don’t quite get there.
As we engage in International Women’s Day 2018, we have an opportunity to take inspiration from the juggernaut that is #PressForProgress, and to interpret it in our own way. If pressing for big progress right now feels too much for you, try ‘petite’ progress on for size. Consider celebrating the micro wins, instead of holding out for the mammoth ones. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to break big goals and dreams down into bite size bits. These micro steps still move you in the right direction and get you one step closer to your vision. By focussing on petite progress every day (not just on International Women’s Day), the seemingly unachievable, impossible goals will fall within reach as the momentum of daily progress carries you forward.
Believing in our ability to progress, requires a Growth Mindset. Individuals who have a Growth Mindset believe that their abilities are not set in stone at birth and CAN be developed through hard work, good strategies, and feedback and input from others. They believe that one’s intelligence and capability can keep growing to levels you wouldn’t even imagine, with the right effort and cultivation. Whether the challenges you face are large or small, whether the hurdles that have prevented you from progressing in the past are real or imagined, progress is absolutely possible if you adopt a Growth Mindset, free yourself from your limiting beliefs and focus on petite progress when your bigger ambitions feel far away.
Ronald Reagan captured the critical role of Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset in driving progress, when he said: ‘There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect’. We are indeed, our own gatekeepers of progress and if we can unlock that gate, we can move forward, gradually, towards our goals.
We see pauses on women’s progress all the time. Life gets hectic and days become focussed on ensuring everyone else is cared for, organised, fed, clothed and moving forward. It’s rarely a matter of intentionally de-progressing, it’s often a sub-conscious ‘parking’ of your personal priorities and progress, in favour of focussing on others. By making ‘petite progress’ part of our daily ritual, we can change this. When we re-set our focus on daily micro-progress, delivering and celebrating the small, frequent wins, we start to regularly shine a light on our own, personal achievements. This recognition is energising and supports us to continue with the next step forward. Recognition of getting better at something and contributing to something, are fundamental human needs and vital to our personal wellbeing. Progress drives more progress, and if your starting point is at the petite level, the impact can still be pivotal.