I always wanted to master the ability to do handstands. They just seem like so much fun and an expression of strength and balance.
However, before I could do a handstand, I decided I should probably master a headstand. I felt it was a stepping stone since you have to be upside down for both. And I decided to master this one step at a time. First I would master headstands using the wall as a support, then I would master free-standing headstands, and finally I would move on to handstands.
I accomplished the first step pretty easily. I gave myself 3 months to figure it out, but I had it down inside of a week. I felt quite confident knowing the wall was always there to support and "catch" me.
Step two I found much harder. I could be free from the wall for a few seconds at a time, but then my balance would falter and my feet would always fall back to it for support and reassurance.
I spent at least 3 months in this space, making little, if any, progress. I would last a few seconds away from the crutch of the wall, but without fail, my feet fell back to it, or worse, I fell out of the headstand all together. I was getting quite discouraged and wondered if I would ever succeed.
Then the happy accident occurred.
One day while I was doing a headstand, it just felt right to stretch out my body as long as I could make it. As I was inverted, I decided to lengthen and tighten my core, and stretch my legs as far to the ceiling as I could make them go. And that's when it happened.
I suddenly felt a balance, strength and centeredness I had never felt before. The next thing I knew, I could do a free standing headstand away from the wall for several seconds, maybe even 10 seconds!
Something about stretching my body out, tightening my core, and reaching for the ceiling with my feet was the secret to finding balance and mastering this next stage. I hardly noticed it when it first happened, but then I realized this was the key to achieving the next stage.
Often, success does not happen with a big epiphany or a grandiose "Eureka!" moment. More times than not, success happens with a barely perceptible, small, incremental difference or shift you make in your efforts.
If you have been struggling with a success in your life, rather than frustrate yourself by trying to make a big leap, I encourage you think about a small change you can make. Then pay close attention to the results, for it may produce a surprising result.