One Thing at a Time - Res 27
The New Year had me thinking a lot about goals, values, ambitions, motivations, life, and how excited I was to wear my new fuzzy socks. With all the talk of “look how far you’ve come in a year” and “can you believe that was only 1 year ago” I found myself even more reflective and nearly bubbling over with blog ideas – two of which involved writing about goals and values.
At my old job, we had a list of working norms – kind of like guiding values – and each day at our morning huddle, we would say what working norm we were focusing on that day. I loved that idea. I mean, obviously, in theory, you were living into every positive attribute every day you walked into the office, but how nice it was to really put your heart and soul behind one guiding value each week.
For this reason, I’ve decided to dedicate a new series of “Res” posts to my own kind of working norms – my own mini-resolutions. You don’t have to buy into any of these. You don’t have to make your own. But maybe at some point, it’ll make you think about what it would look like to radically change your life one week at a time.
Res 27: One Thing at a Time
My eyes dart carelessly between the dim computer screen and the daunting alarm clock. I’m torn between unread emails and the nagging reminder that I haven’t slept in a while. I catch my eyes slipping toward silence when I land instead on the pen circles, underlines, and arrows that dance across my planner.
There’s a lot to do.
I stand up for a moment to stretch before walking to the kitchen to top off my water bottle. I return to my desk and realize that in a matter of moments I would completely drown myself in the tasks at hand. My planner is a concoction for high stress levels and I’ve got a history of workaholic-ism.
I’ve also got a history of making up words and not taking myself nearly seriously enough.
I go to YouTube to give myself a 2 minute and 30 second hit of inspiration but I can’t find what I’m looking for. Instead, I revert to Netflix and with a few swift clicks, pull up the scene in Moana where the title character is bargaining with the ocean. It starts when there is 29:35 left in the movie if you’re interested.
Basic plot points for further reading comprehension: Moana’s task is to restore the heart of Te Fiti. She feels as though she has failed in this endeavor despite the ocean having “chosen her.” She pleads, “I’m not the right person. You have to choose someone else. Choose someone else. Please.”
The spirit of her Grandma appears in full Disney spiritual guide mode and has this really touching bit where she tells her she will be right there with her should she turn to go home. When Moana hesitates, her grandmother asks why and Moana replies, “I don’t know.” I find that moment raw and beautiful.
Next of course is the empowering song, “I am Moana.”
I watch the scene and when the song ends, I close out of Netflix and I start on my work.
An hour later, I sit down to write this post. As per always, my train of thought derails and I find myself rewatching the scene but with precision. If I’m going to write about the clip, I want to be accurate.
Moana dives into the ocean to retrieve the heart she had given away a few moments prior and when she comes back up, the music that has coated my arms in goosebumps has stopped. It’s just her. And she’s on her own.
And that’s when I realize something. The inspirational song is nice, but it’s what comes after the counts. It’s the work you put in after the music stops – when you’re all alone – that really counts.
Resolution #27: One Thing at a Time
First, Moana sews the torn mast. Then, she rebuilds the broken parts of the vessel. Next, she uses her wayfinding skills to get her bearings. And finally, on her own, she proclaims a slightly altered version of a line that had been repeated throughout the movie, “I am Moana of Motonui. Aboard my boat, I will sail across the sea, and restore the heart of Te Fiti.”
This girl is trying to literally save her animated world and she can break it down into a few simple steps.
I look back down at my planner - one thing at a time. Sew the mast. Fix the broken parts. Find your way. Save the world.
It’s easy to get caught up in the spinning nature of daily lives – balancing work, side hustles, and general living. I have found, though, that in those moments of complete energy depletion, I’ll still be okay. I know how to make a plan. I can start where I am. And one by one, I will complete even the most daunting challenges.