During my 30’s one of my good friends was Jon, a stained glass artist 40 years my senior. He was a self-described Glass Hole, ostensibly meaning he had given up his life on the road repairing ecclesiastical stained glass and had holed himself away in his studio, but he could also be quite caustic and a serious jerk when he felt like it, and he really liked this about himself.
I grew up almost pathologically nice so we were an unlikely pair friend wise, but I met him as my Mother and Grandfather were dying and got to know his supportive side. He needed, I think, to feel like he was helping someone, and all of my elders were disappearing.
The thing about Jon was if he decided you were his friend then there was nothing he wouldn’t do for you. He was the kind of friend who I could have called from prison and he would have bailed me out and found me a lawyer without asking too many questions. If I believed his stories, he had a lot of friends with rough edges and getting them out of trouble from time to time was just part of the deal.
I never became a very productive stained glass artist, in part because I’m not capable of talking and working at the same time, and as beautiful as the glass was, I enjoyed his off color stories and his lessons more. One of which was his carefully guarded secret for doing things he didn’t know how to do.
First you make a list of everything you know to do, even if it’s only one thing. Than you do those steps. And magically the next steps will appear. The point is don’t let the fact that you don’t know what you’re doing stop you.”
This is so simple you might be wondering why you took the time to read this post. Especially since there are so many memes out there about how you just have to start, how a journey is composed of a 1000 steps, and so forth. But none of them are quite as effective to me as remembering Jon squinting at me over his tea, hand rolling his “medicine,” and telling me in all seriousness that he was going to share his secret with me that would make me successful at anything:
- Make a list of all the known steps towards your goal.
- Do those things with trust that the next steps will present themselves.