The Next Right Step

Apr 06, 2020

I’ve gotten pretty lax with television time in our house during this stay-at-home period. My kids are watching a LOT of Disney (giving me some time for Netflix binges). Frozen’s Let It Go has been on a replay loop in my head for years. Now “The Next Right Thing” from Frozen II is playing right along beside it. If you have to have an ear worm, these empowerment ballads are pretty great.

Yesterday I encouraged you to purposely toggle between the big picture and the immediate need (zoom out, zoom in). Taking the next step without a broader frame of reference (and meaning) can lead you unconsciously down a path you never meant to travel. You may be moving forward, but is it the right direction at the right time for the right purpose? Is the decision, action, conversation you’re having today actually the next right thing?

It’s especially hard to discern the next right thing when that “ zoom-out" horizon is obstructed, or changing too rapidly to provide any real focus. There are days, especially in the aftermath of tragedy, when taking any step at all seems overwhelming.

When Anna sings The Next Right Thing in Frozen II, she is feeling true despair and grief. She has lost her sister, her trusted companion and feels the burden of protecting her entire kingdom. She has spent the night deep in a cave (both literal and figurative) and now must emerge from her dark night of the soul. It is a profoundly human and spiritual moment. Her courage to do the next right thing is not a result of a pep talk, vision board, or belief in herself. It is summoned by a deep yearning to move forward, even though the path is anything but clear. The next right thing (stepping out of the cave) is all she is capable of seeing. But it is enough.

Yes, I’m getting sappy over a Disney movie, but it’s because that scene rings so true to me. We do not have to resolve despair before moving forward. We do not have to have the assurance that definitive answers exist before stepping bolding into the big questions. And we don’t have to be clear on our final destination, as long as that very next step is made with intention and hope.

What is the next right thing for you? If you’re feeling overwhelmed with financial, professional, health and other adult life concerns, you are not alone. Fortunately, making final decisions in many of those areas would be premature and waiting is actually wise. In the meantime, ruminating over worst-case scenarios is draining and unproductive. Losing ourselves to worry is paying interest on a debt we may not owe.

Get crystal clear on what you do know. What decisions in your life DO you have enough information and clarity with which to move forward? What does your family need from you TODAY, not next year? What wellbeing goal will give you peace this week versus a bathing-suit ready body in the summer? 

Then take that step with clarity and confidence. It is enough.

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