One Step at a Time

Everywhere I turn these days, I seem to find a coach exhorting people to break big goals into manageable chunks.  I am probably not encountering such messages any more frequently than usual, but I interpret my awareness of the advice as a sign that I need to pay attention.

I am no stranger to this advice. The power of incremental progress is part of the wisdom of InterPlay. I wrote about Incrementality and InterPlay in my first blog post of the year on New Year’s resolutions. Is this the year I play deeply with taking baby steps and start embodying what I know intellectually about the power of small steps?  It is starting to look like it might be.  And that would be a good thing.

I have been wearing this necklace almost every day recently:


from The InterPlay Principles “Zelda” Collection by Anita Bondi

I love this necklace.  The text is a message to my intellect that progress builds upon itself.  The clock image reminds my imagination both that time is passing and that I have time. The unmoving clock hands symbolize that Now is the only time I have. As I move, the three pieces shake against each other, creating an audible reminder that I am wearing the necklace.  And, the edge of the pressed silver and the stone offer a texture that I love to touch. Unlike some of my other jewelry, I don’t forget what I am wearing when I wear this necklace.

I smile when I think that this necklace is part of Anita’s “Zelda” collection.  My favorite form in InterPlay practice is known as a DT3 or a Zelda.  This improvisational form is to dance for a period of time, then talk for a period of time, then dance, then talk, then dance, then talk.  Honoring the separate wisdoms of movement and words as part of a whole is a profoundly centering practice for me. In this form more than any other InterPlay practice, I experience the reality that my intellect and my creative spirit are both integral aspects of my being.

Part of the power of the Zelda form is that the movement and the words are performed sequentially.  There are other InterPlay forms that involve multitasking, moving and speaking at the same time.  In a DT3, you singletask: dance or talk, one step at a time.  The whole is larger than the sum of its parts. The dance influences the talk, which influences the dance, but they remain separate.  Each task is discrete. The whole is a composite.

I use my necklace as a reminder not only that incremental steps will get me where I want to go, but also as a reminder that there is power in singletasking.  One step at a time. Keep the projects separate. Take small steps in each. Just keep going. Celebrate the journey.  And keep going.

One step at a time.

I wonder where I’ll get to.

9 thoughts on “One Step at a Time

  1. Susan Featro says:

    Thanks, Kate, for the beautiful reminder to take things incrementally…as I prepare to go to Nashville to give 2 presentations at a tech education conference this week, prepare to have a substitute in for 3 days for my K-12 classes on account of being away, teach 3 grad classes at the university, move ahead with my dissertation, continue to be with my writing & music, and more. This inspiration was just what I needed. What a meaningful piece of jewelry & what a great reflection on what this piece holds for you. I am breathing more deeply as I accept your reminder to stay in the “now,” which is, of course, influenced by and connected to my previous movement and speaking & will connect to my future movement and words. I look forward to seeing where we both ‘get to’ in our journeys. 🙂

  2. Kate Arms-Roberts says:

    What a busy time. I hope all your presentations go well.

    I’m glad to have caught you at a moment where my words were helpful.

    Have a great week!


  3. Stan Stewart says:


    Thanks for the reminder. It’s funny. When I teach, I’m usually very conscious of doing things incrementally. In my own life, I have a tendency to skip steps. Well, let me clarify: I try to jump over an incremental step and then I have to wait for some part of me to catch up. In the end, I would have spent less time doing things incrementally from the outset.

    And thanks for including Anita’s beautiful jewelry. I may be biased when I think that it’s incredibly lovely. 😉

    Playful blessings,

    • Kate Arms-Roberts says:

      You may be biased, but you aren’t wrong. Anita’s jewelry is lovely.

      My non-incremental tendencies are to jump the steps or to look at the big picture and panic that I can’t get there without bothering to look for steps I can take in that direction. I find they cause different problems.


  4. Patrick Ross says:

    Hi Kate,

    Thank you for sharing your focus on being incremental. I’m so happy that you have a talisman to guide you, and that it’s from the Anita Bondi collection!

    I like the end of the post where you have broken your process into steps in your writing. I would add, just before “Celebrate the journey,” the sentence “Celebrate each step.” For me, anyway, they’re a bit different. I know the steps are on a journey worth celebrating, but each step itself can be hard, and a celebration of the step can inspire another one. The satisfaction of crossing out a line on a to-do list is alone worthy of celebration! 🙂

  5. Kate Arms-Roberts says:


    Having read this comment and thought about it, I have come to the conclusion that “celebrate each step” is both a more specific statement of what I meant, and a more poetic use of words.

    The journey is often vague and hard to grasp as a unified experience. The steps are tangible and can be marked.


  6. […] of these milestones are not in the writer’s control, but many of them are. Each incremental step forward should be acknowledged, and preferably celebrated. The small steps are what lead to […]

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