“Hi Mr. Olsen, this is Steve Gutzler. Is Nancy there?”
It was my best shot. My mom had gone to Ernie’s Grocery Store and I was home alone. My palms were sweaty, my throat was dry, and my fingers were shaking as I dialed our old manual telephone. My greatest fear was that Mr. Olsen would answer. My second greatest fear at the moment was that Nancy wouldn’t remember who I was. After all, I went to Cedar Park Junior High and she attended Meadow Park Junior High.
I had met Nancy a few weeks earlier at a combined school dance. They called it a sock-hop. I didn’t have the courage to ask her to dance then. But now, by golly, I was going to take the first step! The first step is always the hardest! I was calling her up! First time for everything, so here I go! I’d never called a girl before. I had rehearsed it over and over in my mind. As I dialed it was both exciting and excruciating… 664-2734…ring….ring….ring….
The deepest lowest voice I have ever heard answered, “Hello?” I was pretty sure that wasn’t Nancy. I was pretty sure it was Mr. Olsen… my greatest fear… oh no…
I stammered out the words “…Hi Mr. Olsen, this is Steve Gutzer. Is Nancy there?” Then the deep voice again, “Yes!” A pause… “Umm, may I please speak with her?” My voice was not deep, instead, it was cracking, breaking, imploding! Then he said in that deep voice… “Sure, Steve.” Magical words! Just those two words rang like success!
When Nancy came to the phone I felt emboldened and empowered. We had the most amazing and thought-provoking conversation. We talked about weird teachers, funny friends, her new shoes, my old shoes and we laughed!
As a 13-year-old kid that was a break through!
It was JUST THE FIRST STEP!
I know it is a childhood example, but it isn’t childish! I am around a lot of leaders, a lot of entrepreneurs, and a lot of business types. Some of these people carry a bundle of precious dreams around in their hearts. But that is just the problem! The dreams are only carried around in their hearts! They are afraid of taking that first step. They are afraid of big, deep-voiced Mr. Olsen saying “No, you cannot talk to Nancy.”
I heard Les Brown say recently, “Let me tell you a little secret, you’re not coming out alive in life! You will either be in the grandstands or on the playing field. You might as well get on the field and start playing!”
The Stuff that Dreams are Made of:
- What are you waiting for? Perfect conditions? Less stress? Slower pace? Freed up schedule? Reminder: There is no such thing as perfect conditions and probably, things are not going to slow down much.
- What is holding you back? Which fear? Is it the fear of failure? The fear of the unknown? Reminder: As you move toward that which you fear it will grow smaller, not larger! Your momentum and traction will gain speed and soon whatever fear has held you captive will be tamed by your activity, not your passivity!
- How do you get started? In your over-worked and imperfect state, you start with just the first step. Reminder: Your first step may be small at first, but it will be impactful in the long run.
“That is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”
I appreciate you!
Remember: Take that first step!
ps. Listen to John F. Kennedy’s Speech about landing on the moon too!