“Big Picture” vs “Step by Step”?

I have always considered myself a big picture thinker and planner.

I’ll admit to the occasional jealousy of the type A folks in my life with all their lists and preparation, but generally my big picture approach works well for me. There are pros and cons to both schools of thought, but this past week I had a life lesson in why it’s good to be open to both options.

We were travelling in the mountain area of Switzerland and had taken a cable car to the top of Neiderhorm Mountain. The view was gorgeous as I took in the landscape around us and all the way to the lake far below. My mom and my daughter took the cable car back down, but I suggested to the boys that we do the 2-3 hour hike back down the mountain. On the map it was a gradual incline zig zagging back and forth until you reached the base. The first third was a little challenging considering none of us really had proper shoes for hiking, but it was just enough to keep the boys interest but not too hard for their less than sporty mom!

When we reached the next point the path switched to a smooth paved walkway and apparently sometimes they rent scooters that can be ridden the rest of the way down, but they weren’t available that day.

So we continued our easy walk down the mountain… but the boys weren’t quite as enchanted. At the next zig zag in the path, there were signs for an alternate path through the forested area. I checked the map and it looked reasonable and was well marked so off we went.

The first part was definitely more challenging than we had experienced thus far, but Alex had found a great walking stick that I used for leverage on the higher “steps” down. But then the path became much steeper which still might have been ok except for the very steep drop off to the side of the path.

A couple of days earlier we had driven through the mountains to arrive at our chalet and I realized I did not enjoy driving on the narrow roads, sometimes with almost no side barriers, on the side of a mountain.

As we made our way down this path I realized I also did not enjoy walking on steep ledges on the edge of mountains without fencing. But I slowly continued down the path (even at one point sliding down a bit on my bum.) But as I continued I just keep repeating the words “one foot in the front of the other, just put one foot in front of the other”. Every time I tried to look further ahead… to see the “big picture”… I became overwhelmed by the possibilities, but as long as I only focused on taking my next step I was ok.

I did come to a point when I just sat down and breathed… I had to convince myself that I was capable and I also had my boys there giving me support and encouragement. And after a few minutes I stood and continued the path only to realize that at the point I wanted to give up and say I could not possibly do it…. I was almost at the end.

I still think it is good to see the “big picture” in life, but sometimes success is found in taking one step at a time…putting one foot in front of the other… taking the time to breathe and reflect, and accepting the help of others!

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