How Watching Babies Learn to Walk Helps you Meet your Goals

By: Robin Schepper

Like so many people, my career path has been an accident. I was at the right place at the right time. But when my 40th birthday approached, I really reflected upon my past accomplishments and wondered what my future ones would be. As a new mom, I am constantly inspired by my son. Was there a way I could use the lessons I have learned from my son to help me figure out my future goals? I was fascinated when my son learned to walk – he was so determined and nothing could get in his way and when he fell he didn't question himself or criticize himself, he just kept going. That was when I was struck by the metaphor of baby steps. If we copied babies actions of learning to walk without fear of failure, perhaps we can reach our goals?

Building block 1: What are you proud of?
What are the ten things I am most proud of from my childhood? When I asked myself this question it was filled with things like – winning the doggie paddle race at age 5; getting the best camper award; being the first freshman on the varsity basketball team; getting a tennis scholarship; traveling to more than 8 countries before I was 12; writing a letter about pollution to President Nixon and getting a response. (I have the letter framed in my office – ok, so it was autopen)

Do you see a pattern here? Well, what struck me as funny was that the things I cared about most as a child: sports, traveling and the environment are still the things most important to me now. So if you created a list of the ten things you are the most proud as a child and as an adult, would you see a pattern?

Building Block 2: What makes you happy?
Let’s try another exercise, what are the ten things that make you the most happy? And when was the last time you did anything on this list? Do you make time to do things that make you happy? And if you did do these things, would you have a sense of accomplishment?

My list always includes dancing. Before my son, I danced salsa and tango every week. I love to dance. But, my husband doesn’t dance and since we have a toddler and babysitting is expensive, we don’t go out that often. Lucky for me, I have a little boy who loves music, so we dance in the living room almost every day, twirling and spinning to salsa and rock and roll. Oddly enough, my son teaches me to take baby steps. He teaches me to live in the moment and celebrate every step I take – so when I dance with him in the living room or in the supermarket, I am doing what makes me happy.

Building Block Three: What are your memorable moments?
Another one of my favorite exercises is to think of a memorable moment in your life. When I first did this exercise I immediately remembered my trip to Nepal after the 1992 presidential election campaign. I trekked for 10 days in the Annapurna range and was struck by the feeling of stepping back in time – there were no cars, no electricity, and no toilets. We went to sleep when the sun went down. I felt so at peace and one with nature. Can you tell a little about my values from my favorite moment? In less than two minutes my colleagues said they thought I cared about the environment, politics, beauty, solitude, culture and travel to name a few. It was amazing to me how much can be learned from a memorable moment. So what is your moment? Do you think it illustrates your true values?

Turning the building blocks into accomplishments
All three exercises are about tapping into your core values and what makes you happy. In this busy world, sometimes you just need to take a moment and breathe and remember what’s important. There is the saying “I will not die an unlived life.” If you take the time to practice the things that make you proud and happy, you will be creating the building blocks to have memorable moments all the time.

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Wayfinder Coach, Robin Schepper, leads Wise Walking Retreats and is a personal coach to individuals and groups. Contact

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