“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”– Confucius

You have big goals. And if you don’t right now, at one point in your life you did. Maybe you wanted to be an astronaut, or a race-car driver, or a famous chef, or actress, or maybe you wanted to be the beloved town librarian.

No matter what your big goal is or was, when you are starting from step one it always feels like a big goal. You look far down the line and everything seems just too overwhelming. There’s too much to be done. Too many mountains to climb. Too many hurdles to jump over.

Like the man who had to move the entire mountain, the temptation is to simply walk away. What’s the point in even trying at all?

And therein lies the problem: Standing on the first step and gazing out to the final view. If you’re told to move a mountain made of stones, it seems impossible. If you are told to move one small stone, it is almost TOO easy.

But, the mountain is simply made up of small stones waiting to be moved one by one.

As is true for your goals, when you must break them into smaller bite-sized pieces in order to tackle each one at a time.

Being a professional athlete does not begin with showing up at the championship game, it begins with learning one small skill over and over again. Then another, and another. Years of practice and dedication.

It only seems overwhelming until you focus on the one small skill you need to learn. Then, it is in your crosshairs.

Then, it is one small stone you can pick up and move.

This is where the journey begins, many small steps which eventually lead to a long road. Yes, define your large, long term goal. But then, look at each individual step you will need to take in order to get there. Reverse engineer the process. Draw it out, or write it down.


The beauty of this approach is multi-faced. First it puts you on a realistic and well-defined path to reach the large goals you’ve set because each step has been broken down and becomes much easier to follow.

Secondly, it provides you with small emotional rewards every time you accomplish one of your goals and reach a benchmark. It prevents burnout and overwhelm that could easily be felt if you kept looking a year, two years, or ten years down the road to your large goal.

Now you can enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing smaller and more attainable goals while simultaneously moving towards the larger one.

Sure, the mountain may appear large, but the closer you get to it, the less daunting it will seem. Such is life.