Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Taking The Next Step

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When we try something new or take a on  risk and survive, there is a temptation to stay there.

We should celebrate. Victories. Good times. People.

But this is the place where so many stories falter. We have to move on.

We have to take the next step.

photo by Gilderic photography (Creative Commons)

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be telling you more about my story. My next step is a trip to Kenya. As you read this, I will be almost there.

My journey started first with writing. Not so much writing, but the burden on my heart that led me to write. Although I already knew who he is, several years ago it felt like I had discovered God for the very first time, and in many ways I had.

My next step back then was blogging. Blogging introduced me to people and ideas that I had never new existed. Blogging introduced me to Catalyst.

Catalyst is a leadership conference with a Christian focus. They have one goal and that is to get you out of your safe zone. They want to help you do more.

I attended last May in Dallas, and Catalyst lived up to its name. I walked away changed forever.

Taking the next step, I found myself this past November in Uganda working with a small medical team in a small hospital in a very small village.

I learned quickly that when trying to provide medical care in the third world, resources are a huge problem. There are plenty of patients but not enough workers or supplies. I was there armed with knowledge and skill but could do absolutely nothing.

In preparing for that trip I stumbled across a blog written by an Orthopedic surgeon at Tenwek hospital in Bomet, Kenya. Dr. Galat would write about the patients he treated and the surgeries he performed. I was amazed at the level of care he was able to provide especially after my previous experience.

The next step was clear. Go there. Meet him. Learn.

This version of my story is too condensed, but through it I hope to convince you of the importance of avoiding a stall in your story.

Here are 6 ideas to help you take your next step.

1. Take the first step. The only way to discover the next step, is to take the first one. Often, this very first step is the hardest one of all. Inertia will try to keep you where you are in safety and comfort. Momentum, though, can be your friend. Once you start moving, it helps you keep moving.

2. Don’t worry about the 3rd step. Don’t wait to 2nd step until you understand the 3rd one. You need vision. You need to understand your “why.” But you can’t wait until you understand all of the sequential steps because that moment will never come. Our journeys are messy and full of rerouting. The only way to discover the 3rd step is to take the 2nd.

3. Discover a need. When I first read Dr. Galat’s stories, they did not seem remarkable.  I perform those same surgeries routinely at home. But then, after I visited Uganda, I quickly understood how incredible his work is. The greatest limiting factor in Uganda was a lack of resources and Dr. Galat had them in Kenya. Understanding a need helped guide me.

4. Incremental steps. It is easy to get caught up in trying to accomplish too much too quickly. We attempt to take a step that is longer than our stride, hoping that it gets us to our goal sooner only wearing ourselves out in the effort. It is easy to become overwhelmed and give up. A better approach is to take smaller steps, but to take them every day. These small steps quickly add up.

5. Learn from mistakes. Failure. Even the sound of the word makes us feel awful. Unfortunately we all try to avoid it, but nothing will help you find your way better. Mistakes are a chance to learn what a better next step will be. The only true failure in life is not trying and not letting our mistakes take us down a better path.

Take a step. Fail. Learn. Take the next step.

6. Stay hungry. Celebrate and enjoy a moment of success, but never become satisfied. Author Steven Pressfield relates a story about telling an accomplished author about finishing his first book. He was quickly congratulated and then told to start his 2nd novel the next day. The work is never done.

What is your next step? Tell us in the comments.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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7 Replies

  1. Amazing post Jeremy. What is my next step? To keep moving forward as a writer. To keep building relationships. That is my next step for sure. 

  2. Your writing never fails to inspire. I hope you come back from Kenya utterly changed and wrecked for the life you were living before this trip. I know God will work wonders through this experience. 

    I’m not so sure about my next step. But I’m praying about it. You know that feeling when you’re right on the brink of something big but have no idea what it is? That’s where I am. I’m learning to be grateful for each of the little steps that have brought me this far.

  3. Jeremy, great post and information – steps 2 and 3 really spoke to me!!!

  4. Thanks, Tor. By the way, I’m digging the newer twitter photo.

  5. don’t get inpatient. keep taking the little steps.

  6. Relationships are a really good thing to focus on.

  7. This is awesome Jeremy.  I’ve been having a mission-focus burning on my heart for a few months, and just now some possibilities have begun to open up.  Thanks for sharing, I look forward to reading more about your journey.

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