Small Steps

I am by nature very high-strung. Nervous. Excitable. All of the above. To complicate things, I am also very busy. My schedule can get overwhelming. Anyone who knows me well understands that I juggle a lot and can’t always take the time that I would love to for ‘extras’. The extras are usually important to me; it’s just that it’s very difficult for me to slow down.

So, as I’m leaving the house with my purse, my binders, my laptop, and my change of clothes, it’s inevitable that I will forget something. It’s nice to be able to call my assistant and say, “Can you please look on my desk and tell me what the pink post-it note on the gray folder in the top left drawer of my desk says?” I sigh, “Yes the note that also has the doodle of the muffin with a mustache and glasses, that’s the one.”

It’s really no surprise to anyone then, especially me, when I get in my car, look at my navigation and see the estimated time of arrival says 9:44 a.m. Shoot, my meeting is at 9:45 a.m.! I’ll be pushing it. But never fear, Autumn Smith is here!

What is surprising to me is when I step out of my car after a ride of enthusiastic self-affirmation, square my shoulders, begin walking confidently to my meeting, and suddenly feel a little breeze. Yes, I did remember to put my pants on. But I failed to not only zip them up but to button them at all! Get back in the car! Get back in the car!

I corrected the situation with no one noticing. But darn it, I missed an entire step in a pretty universal system of preparing oneself for daily interactions. Not a big step, but let’s be honest, a really important one!

A big step was securing this particular meeting at all. Another big step was working with my team of professionals to develop a winning proposal. Working with my attorney to draft the contract, showing up for the conference and delivering an amazing presentation – all big steps. But if I had walked into the room with my pants undone, none of those big things would have mattered.

We sometimes get so focused and overwhelmed with the big steps that we take for granted how much the little steps matter too. If they are ignored, all the things that seem insignificant can really undermine the responsibilities that we perceive to be more important.

In Colossians 3:23, we are taught, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…” Big or little, it is essential to pay attention and do our best, working with all of our hearts into the Lord. Consider each task a spiritual act of worship to the one who has given us abundant ability.

I once heard a Baptist minister instruct a younger pastor to stand up, speak up, shut up, and sit down. Let me rearrange this piece of advice just a little to make it more relevant- always ZIP UP, BUTTON UP, stand up, and then speak up.

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