Inspiration for creating your own path: Take one step

by | May 8, 2013 | Personal Growth, Uncategorized | 5 comments

one step at a time

one step at a time

One of my favorite parts of traveling and living abroad is that I meet kindred spirits. People who are also interested in growth through adventure and who have taken risks to travel and try out new things for the sake of developing themselves.

I met Christine at a tango festival. I had seen her around at the milongas in Buenos Aires. We had never spoken. She seemed nice but unassuming, glasses, hair pulled back in a ponytail, kind of meek.

One night while we were riding a bus to a milonga (a place where we dance tango) she told me her story. Christine is Swiss, in her late 30s. “I worked as a nurse and then a nurse manager for 18 years but I really didn’t like it. I hated it.” She kept expecting to meet the guy, that she would buy a house with him and get married and do all that stuff in her thirties. At a certain point, she decided to just up and go; to come in Buenos Aires to dance tango.

“My friends looked at me like I was crazy when I told them I was going to quit,” she told me. “What are you going to do next? You need to know what you’re going to do next before you quit.”

“It’s done,” she told them. “I already quit.” She had this great impish smile on her face when she told me that. This woman is not meek, I realized.

“It was really hard to make that choice,” she said, “because I was surrounded by people who thought I was nuts.” The Swiss are fanatical about planning, she said. (Just like Americans.)

Christine told me later it was so nice to meet me because she could see that I was also following this path and it made me her feel less alone. Through our lived experience, we have come to share a point of view.

Just take one step

The way Christine is living, and the way I’m living, is evidence that you don’t have the have the whole plan in mind for your life. You can just take one step toward what you want and figure it out as you go along.

You could make excel spreadsheets forever planning your budget, the ideal scenario, where you will find your partner,and so on. But often you just need to take a step toward something that makes you feel alive.

In our case, that impulse was coming to Buenos Aires to dance tango. That could be anything for you. It doesn’t necessarily mean traveling or leaving home. You just have to take a step, and then keep taking another step, and another one, and figure out more as you go along. That’s been my experience with pretty much everything I have done: my magazine To-Do List, my books, my travels, the web company I co-founded, and becoming a coach. I never had a grand plan in mind, I just took one step after the next, and I could intuitively feel that the energy would be in the steps I was excited–if also scared–to take.

As comforting and secure as it might be to have a plan, I have found that taking an intuitive, passion-filled step is more important. I’ve watched the same thing happen with my coaching clients. They come to me burned out by jobs they no longer wanted. They just have to tune into something that actually gives them passion and excitement. They take one step, and then another. And then another. A cascade of unexpected things happen.

Christine will go back tomorrow to Switzerland soon after her three and a half months in Buenos Aires. She is feeling okay with it. She extended her time here by two weeks and now she feels ready to go, to see what happens when she integrates what she has learned here into life at home. She says she will look for work outside the hospital since she didn’t like working in a hospital. She may take a Traditional Chinese Medicine course. “I want to mix it up,” she says. She hopes to find her husband upon arrival. She laughed at the idea of showing up back in Switzerland and saying, “I’m ready. Are you?”

Maybe that is the way. When you get very clear and are turned on you’re more likely to attract what you want.

I’m excited to find out what comes next for her.

Bottom line advice
Take the one step toward whatever makes you bright. If you are contemplating taking a step, let me know what it is in the comments.

P.S. I am absolutely loving the group in the first session of GetQuirky. I think I may change the name to Go Forth and GetQuirky, that’s what we all say to each other when we end one of our weekly calls. We’re having so much fun and going deep at the same time, exploring what it means to love all of who we are, “flaws” and quirks and all. The next session will be in July. If you want to become more radiant by accepting the quirkyness of yourself and others, sign up for the early information list here.


  1. Emily

    Hi Sasha!

    I am in the Get Quirky class right now, but I just got your email with this post and read it, and it is very close to home right now. I am talking a lot with people and trying to switch into two part-time positions doing what I want, instead of staying in the full-time job I now hate after almost two years. It’s terrifying to me because I will lose my healthcare benefits and the assurance of at least earning a certain amount every two weeks, even if it’s not much. But I have to take that first step toward something I want now, rather than waiting and hoping one of the job applications I send out while I stay in this bad situation pans out.

    So thank you for this post.

    • sasha

      Hi Emily, That’s really great to hear. What’s amazing about first steps is then they lead to a second and a third . . . the first one can be scary but then you set something entirely new in motion.

  2. Carolyn


    I love that you and women like Christine are showing the joy and aliveness that comes from taking that step, and the step after it, that you are drawn to. It really helps to remember that reward of joy when we go through the scary parts. It’s a trust that choosing what is right for us in the moment will lead us to other right moments.

    I had a small example of the rewards of following what brings me joy the other day, and of trusting the messages I receive. I’m learning how to write and I had set aside a Sunday afternoon for writing. However, it was our first sunny hot day and I was drawn to sunbathe, so I grabbed a how-to book on writing and read it in the sun. I was struck by how perfect this author’s advice was for where I was in my writing process. I wished out loud that I could take a class from this very famous author, but I had checked awhile ago and it looked like she was no longer teaching. Just to be sure, I checked later that day and she had just announced a class for summer and one fall which were sure to fill soon! They didn’t perfectly fit my writing schedule, however, so I emailed the author with a writing sample to ask her which one I should take. She wrote me back and offered to work with me individually before the summer and save a space for me in the fall class. So now I have a opportunity to take my writing to a higher level, just because I decided to sunbathe that day!

  3. sasha

    Hi Carolyn! What a great story. I find that too that when we check in with ourselves and do what we really want to do as opposed to blindly following the to-do list doing the desire-fueled thing can often be more “productive” and certainly more magical in the end. A good reminder.


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Hi! I’m Sasha

Executive and Life Coach on a mission to help women connect with their bodies to pursue their truest desires in the bedroom and the world.

Author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics (HarperCollins) + To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us (Simon & Schuster).

At work on a memoir called Wet, about adventures in healing through sensuality.

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