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Baby Steps: Starting Anew

In January, I declared a new motto for Mountain Owl Ink in 2017: See Farther. You probably don't know that when I created that motto I had no idea I'd give birth to my first child in a few short months. And, how appropriate, because I've come to realize there is little that makes you see farther into the future more than having a kid.


Then, on November 17, just over a month after my son was born, I had recuperated from childbirth and gathered enough of myself together to reflect upon 2018, the year I've come to call The Baby Year. And, like my 2017 motto, I've just come to realize that the name takes on a double meaning:


Not only is 2018 the first full year of enjoying my literal baby, but it's also a time for me, in my "baby" stage as a new mother, to reevaluate myself and make changes. It's a time for Mountain Owl Ink, in light of those changes, to restart itself in infancy and move forward in baby steps.


Taking Baby Steps

When my son takes his first steps, it will be something new. I'll be amazed at how he's developing. I'll be happy and proud and slightly afraid as I am faced with the reality that he'll forevermore be increasingly mobile.


At the same time, to him his first steps may not be much of a shocker. He would have been working toward that goal for a while, his whole life, in fact. After all, before he stepped out, he'd have been working on looking around, at rolling over, at sitting up, at standing, all these things would have happened before he took that first step out.


So, while I, the outsider, may be shocked at the development, to my son it'll be something he'd been (more or less) planning on and pursuing for some time. It will be exciting, I'm sure, but it won't be a surprise.


His developmental leap, from my perspective, will be just another "baby step" for him.


What "Baby Steps" Mean in Business

In this light, baby steps are those small leaps taken forward that go largely unnoticed by the outside world. They can be internal (emotional, mental, or spiritual changes within us) or they can be external (physical changes or material achievements, like a diploma or accolade), just as long as they bring us closer to a preconceived goal.

Illustrating a panel of "Le Mieux" comic with my infant son in my lap. / 23Oct2017 Jessica Woken

As an example, when I decided to wake up every morning and get dressed as if I were going to an office (even though I worked from home), that was a mental change I made even though it materialized as me wearing different clothes. But, did it matter how I dressed to the outside world? No. Absolutely not. Nobody knew that I was in office wear while puttering around my house. Did anyone notice I wore heels while I did laundry or vacuumed? No! But I certainly did. That was an attitude change -- an internal baby step -- that brought me closer to a preconceived goal (that is, taking my business seriously and not just as a hobby).


Baby steps mean you're working toward improvement, whatever "improvement" means for you. And, when you can track those steps, you're better able to see how far you've come -- and how much farther you have to go -- to reach a goal you've set for yourself.


But that brings up the question...


Can baby steps backtrack?

Absolutely.


When my son starts walking, he'll undoubtedly fall down. He may just bump down onto his heftily padded rear end (thank you, fluffy diapers!) or he may topple forward and hit his head on the floor.


After such disappointment (and pain), he may not think that walking is as great as it's hacked up to be. Nobody really wants to face plant on the floor. Nobody wants to be disappointed after putting in so much work and effort.


Nobody really wants to face plant on the floor. Nobody wants to be disappointed after putting in so much work and effort.

But he WILL keep trying, because that's what babies do. They don't obsess about what happened last time; that's a grown up thing. Babies tend to just #keeponkeepingon.


And that's what babies can teach us: To stop obsessing about "last time" and just keep on. Sure, we'll face road blocks, disappointments, backtracking, bumps, pain... but those are ways to learn to baby step better, not reasons to avoid baby stepping at all!


Let's Learn from Babies

So, 2018 will be MOI's Baby Year. I'll be starting over with a fresh perspective about what I want from me, about what's important to me and how I might get there (a little of this I already shared in my last post).


As a result, MOI will be shifting gears. I already know that that'll involve working more on my own projects and less on being hired out to work on other people's publishing dreams.


I also know that Le Mieux will be taking a temporary pause while I create a clearer path for it's development (can you say website and swag?) and movement forward. That's a sad thing to admit, but sometimes we need to backtrack in order to baby step forward. Nobody knows this better than writers, who sometimes have to face the difficult task of tossing a few pages in order to change the story and make the whole of the book better.


More to come... See you in the new year!


Consider this: Is this YOUR baby year? If so, what changes do you foresee making for yourself, your business, etc., in the next 365 days?

This article originally published December 29, 2017.

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