One Piece At A Time

Written by: Gina Martini, Founder of Full On Happiness

In Anne Lamott’s book ‘Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life,’ she tells a story of her 10 year old little brother. He’s close to tears sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by blank papers and pens and unopened books on birds. He’s attempting to begin a report on said birds due the next day, one that he’s had 3 months to write. She describes her dad coming over to her immobilized brother, putting his arm around him, and saying ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’

This story has always stuck with me. It reminds me of a note written to me by a former boss who made a profound impact on my life. I still have this note. It came with me to New York and was taped on the inside of my desk drawers so I could glance at it when I needed to. And today, it resides in the top drawer of my desk. It’s the flimsiest piece of paper you’ve ever seen - discolored and weathered and crinkled from the countless times it’s been unfolded and refolded. 

It has a drawing on it. And by drawing, I mean a cluster of random doodles that don’t make much sense at all. There’s some music notes, fancy swirls, an ‘Om’ symbol, flowers, and stars... a bunch of objects that fit together in a circular shape. You see, both of us would add a small sketch to the page whenever we’d have a meeting, and so it slowly grew over time into this larger ‘piece of art.’ 

Next to this masterpiece, it reads, ‘Gina, take this with you to always remember you can accomplish anything if you are patient and focus on one piece at a time.’

One bird at a time. 

This is the inspiration for today’s message on living a more ‘full-filling’ life. Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the details, isn't it? There are so many big things we want to do and accomplish that it can feel daunting, and as a result, completely unattainable. You can apply this lesson to countless life scenarios. Here are few things that come to mind…

You want the dream relationship, but get overwhelmed by the ‘how’ of getting there - the inevitable terrible dates you may have to go on, the potential heartbreak you might experience - that you decide not to try at all.

You want the perfect job, but the thought of re-doing your resume and spending countless hours on job sites and networking and going on interviews sounds like too much effort, so you don’t try at all.

And, what I think is one of the most common, is that you want to look and feel better. You want to be at your natural weight. But you think, it’s going to be too hard, that you’re going to have to change too much, that the road seems way too long to get there, and that it’s too much work. So, you don’t even bother and decide to stay in the same unhappy, dissatisfied state that you’re in. 

But, what if we take a step back? What if we focus on one small thing at a time? My offering to you this week is to take it bird by bird. One piece at a time. With this approach, you can accomplish anything.

Ask yourself, what is one small thing I can do today that is in alignment with where I want to be? If you do this every single day, the goal will be met and your desires will come to fruition. We must be patient and take it one day at a time in order to not become overwhelmed and quit entirely. 

Guess what one of the best parts is? Our happiness and personal fulfillment come amidst the pieces, not just the end goal. And that, my friends, is magic.

Gina Martini is the founder of Full On Happiness. As a Transformational Nutrition Coach, she teaches mindful practices that free the body & spirit from self-destructive cycles. Gina passionately coaches women to heal their relationship with food and their bodies, and finally start living the life they know is possible for them.