Dear friend,

I visited my parents in Michigan over Christmas break, as you do when you go to school in another state.

One afternoon, I went with my family to a rock climbing gym where my youngest brother regularly goes bouldering (rock climbing without a harness). For those of us who hadn’t been before, a staff member went over safety guidelines and tips on climbing.

Then the staff said something interesting.

Image by 422737 from Pixabay

Getting to the top of the wall is a good goal but just reaching the next hold is a better goal. Even if you fall or have to climb down after that next hold, if you can reach one step farther than you reached before, the climb was successful.

And I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It applies to so many things in life.

For me, it means doing my best on a project that my mentor at school has assigned and letting him worry about the big picture of publishing. It means washing one dish when I feel like I need to clean the whole house. It means opening up my computer and researching part-time jobs to apply to, before worrying about prepping for an interview.

For a running analogy, walking one step is far less scary than running a marathon.

When you look at the goals you have for the future, even the small ones, it can be kind of intimidating. Instead, look at the bottom of the wall you’re in front of and put your hands and feet on the first holds.

The only thing that matters is that you get to the next hold.

Be brave. Take the next step. I’m rooting for you.


R. J. Catlin

P. S. Tell me what your next step is in the comments or send me an email about it!