Find Your Next Foothold

Find your next foothold is good advice when you are climbing Mount Everest and when you are climbing through life. That concept was recently put to the test in my own life. For the last four years, I have been based in Springfield, Illinois. As my business has grown I have found myself in the car driving to work with my St. Louis-based clients on a regular basis. Additionally, St. Louis is the closest major airport. I knew at some point I would need to move to St. Louis to continue to grown my business, to be closer to my St. Louis clients, and to be near an airport for my clients who are outside of my driving distance.

A few months ago I asked a Realtor to give me some advice about what I needed to do to my condo before I tried to sell it. She came over, suggested a few changes, and told me to let her know when I was ready to list it. I was in no rush.

My Realtor recently called and said she knew of someone looking for a two-bedroom condo in my Association. She also said there were no two-bedrooms for sale and she wanted to know if I was ready to list my place?  I said, “Sure, why not?” (Note to self: Answer your own rhetorical questions.) She came over the next day and I signed the listing paperwork. The following morning at 9am we had a showing and from that one showing, I had an offer that I couldn’t pass up – when does that happen?!

For about 24 hours I celebrated and then I had my, “oh no” moment when I realized I had about 30 days to pack up and move and in that process, I needed a new mortgage lender, a St. Louis Realtor, and I also had to find a new home.  I got in my car and headed to St. Louis to work on my to-do list. For about 48 hours I was convinced I had made a tragic mistake. Nothing was going as planned. When Plan A failed I moved to Plan B, and then Plan C, and then Plan D… the next day after I had left my own self-pity party I found myself on the phone with a close friend who I think was more stressed about this than me. She said, “so WHAT are you going to do?” I simply replied, “find my next foothold.”

I am not an expert at mountain climbing, but I do have a lot of experience at overcoming mountains and walls in my own life and here is what I know:

  1. Footholds matter: A foothold is where you place your foot in order to leverage your next move. People often assume that climbing is all about your hands and arms since those are the parts that reach the top first but without a foothold, your hands and arms have too much weight to carry. When you are planning to move you need to find a foothold before you try and push yourself forward. If you want to reach forward in life you first need to find a foothold that will support you securely.
  2. Know where you are: You cannot plot a course until you know where you are. While the temptation may be to always look forward there is a time and place to look at your feet to gain a clear understanding of where you are. This will also help you to determine what your next move needs to be. You can’t move forward until you know where you are. 
  3. Climb with silent feet: When you climb with silent feet it forces you to be intentional about every step you take. You can’t climb a mountain, literally or figuratively, with loud feet. When you think about keeping your feet silent you have to think about every step you take which forces you to be intentional. No matter where you are headed be intentional and climb with silent feet. 
  4. Take small steps: Any expert climber will validate the idea that we need to take small steps. Our bodies can only cover so much ground at once. When a climber gets near the summit of Mount Everest they don’t run to the top because they know they are pushing their bodies to the brink of death, so they take slow, small, deliberate steps. The same is true in life, the more we push ourselves the more we need to focus on taking small steps. 

Climbing is all about your feet. You need to find your next foothold, know where you are, climb with silent feet, and take small steps.

And last but not least, your feet, move them often.