Baby steps or giant leaps?

Jul 01, 2021



Settle an age-old argument for me, would you…is it best to remove a sticking plaster gradually or in one quick pull?


It’s one of those questions that divide the population, isn’t it? Most people will pick a side instantly – ease itoff gradually, or tear that thing off and have done with it.


Which side did you pick? And what could that tell you about the way you want to grow your business?


Baby steps or a giant leap?


I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, having just taken probably the biggest of all the giant leaps I’ve ever taken. As you may know from earlier emails or social media, I’ve recently upped sticks and moved from England to France.


And when I say moved, I mean really moved. We haven’t left one foot in our old camp. Husband, children, pets, belongings – everyone and everything is here. My children are now at a French-speaking school. Our old house is sold and we are buying one here.


And those giant leaps apply not only to my family life, but to my business too – I’ve invested more than ever before in the last year or so, in systems, expert help, processes, and radically changed the way I work.


Taking a couple of giant leaps this year has changed everything and moved us much further, much faster, along the path to our dreams.


So, does this mean I believe that ‘giant leap’ is the right answer to that question?


Not necessarily, no.


The thing with giant leaps is that the progress is, to put it bluntly, in your face. The progress is exponential, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it can be uncomfortable to change that much and that fast.


And I know that baby steps – sometimes called incremental or marginal gains – can have a profound effect too.


The international abundance coach, Ed Lester, asks a very provocative question that always gets me thinking about incremental gains. Ed is a big fan of making one per cent improvements, and the challenging question he asks is this:


In a snap decision, would you rather I gave you a million pounds right now, or a penny now with the promise of doubling the amount I give you every day for 31 days?


Intuitively, many people jump to the biggest amount – but according to my maths, if you took the single penny today, you’d be sitting pretty on a whopping £10.7 million after 31 days.


And that’s the power of compound interest.


In your business, if you make a one per cent improvement every day, taking small but consistent steps, in a year the thing you are improving in baby steps will be a staggering 70,000 times better.


Big businesses understand this too, and invest huge amounts of time and money in finding small but continuous improvements. In manufacturing, the slightest tweaks in production have saved millions of pounds. And in digital business, the same is true – Google, for example, saw a dramatic increase in click-throughs and revenue when it changed the colour shade on the toolbar, just very slightly.


So, the scale is pretty balanced, isn’t it? Baby steps and giant leaps can both deliver big improvements and help you build and grow the thriving and profitable business you want. How on earth do you choose which is right for you?


There is no right or wrong answer, of course; no magic formula to apply. You have to work through and consider a whole raft of variables and moving parts, from risk and opportunities right through to finance and systems.


You also need to decide how fast you want to get to where you want to go (or how fast you want to get away from where you are).


Most importantly, though, you need to build a foundation for all these decisions.


You need to know where you want those baby steps or giant leaps to take you.


You must understand your motivation and your values, because they will sustain and guide you.


And you need to know what’s stopping you (or could stop you), so that you can clear the blocks standing between you and the life and business you want.


And THEN – you can figure out not only the rate of progress that is right for you, but also the next few steps in dazzlingly clear detail.


Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter how you answered my question about easing off or tearing off a sticking plaster.


Whether you choose to do something huge and life-changing like I just have, or you focus on the one per cent gains that will have a snowball effect in your business, the most important thing is to take action and move forward.


Because there is no such thing as inertia in business (or in quantum physics, come to that); either you’re moving forward or you’re falling back. And   taking action is at the very heart of building and growing the business of your dreams.


Have a great day,


Karen x