Take the First Step

Friday 22 February 2019 - Posted by Julia McCutchen

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

I love this wise and well-known quote because it beautifully sums up one of the major realizations I’ve had as an approach to living my life consciously and creatively over the last 25 years.

Trust the Unfolding Dream

My version replaces the word “faith” with “trust” (which resonates more deeply for me) and I’ve truly arrived in the space of trusting the unfolding dream which feels immensely liberating.

With this trust in place, I’m free to take one step at a time without seeing the whole staircase because I know that there’s always a big picture, even when I can’t see it yet.

I trust that it will be revealed, and often find that incremental steps eventually lead to the point when complete clarity arrives in an instant – aha!

The Edge of Uncertainty

Even with a clear vision, having no idea how the details will come together usually feels uncomfortable to say the least.

Yet I’ve come to love living on the edge of uncertainty (most of the time!) as the dynamic space of constant discovery, and fully embrace the not-knowing as an inevitable aspect of conscious living.

These qualities are an integral part of the creative process and reflect the deeper truth of what it means to live in alignment with your soul.

Towards the Infinite

This is how I interpret the truth that Martin Luther King Jr.’s words are pointing to.

“Taking the first step in faith” is essentially directing my gaze towards the infinite, and encouraging me to discover the reflection of that within myself.

This leads me to find the courage to follow my intuition and move forwards without the illusory “certainty” of knowing exactly where I’ll end up.

So when it feels “right” intuitively, I take the step come what may; and sooner or later the staircase is revealed!

How do you interpret the meaning of this quote and in what ways could these words inspire your next steps?


  • This is timely julia. For me i aim to take one step, however small, each day towards my goal. It could be writinG, creating art or reading somethIng that affirms my vision. Also, there’s the letting go of the outcome, or more accurately, not being driven by a perceived outcome which can taint the Step being taken.

    • Hi Claire, I always love receiving comments on my blogs so thank you for yours and it’s equally great to hear when a post is timely! Your approach of taking one step a day towards your goal, however small it may be, is ideal and you can generate more momentum as and when the moment for that is righ.

      When you combine the single steps with setting yourself free from a “perceived outcome” (which is quite different to having an overall vision to work towards) and commit to remaining fully present along the way, there is no doubt that you’ll “arrive” and probably be delightfully surprised by what form that actually takes!

  • The quote is so vital. I used to be so focused on mapping a project out, I did not see that actually little was really happening. Then I found a saying by GOETHE – ” Just Begin; starting brings it own power ” Just taking the first step and moving in steps / chunks seems to work for getting into flow.

    • Thank you Peter. Yes, it’s all too easy to focus on mapping projects out and then not take the steps required to develop the vision! The Goethe quote is equally powerful alongside this one so thanks for bringing that in to the mix. Enjoy each step that you take and the flow it is indeed likely to lead you towards.

    • That’s great to hear Keena, thanks for your comment. I wish you well with the current shift you’re contemplating; do let me know if you need any guidance and support with that. Enjoy taking your first step!

  • At the edge of our comfort zone, that’s where we grow.
    What comes to mind with the quote is:”With action, comes inspiration”.

    • Hi Diane, yes indeed, stepping beyond our comfort zone is essential for growth and development. Thanks for your comment and for sharing the action/inspiration quote which works both ways!

  • Speaks volumes. I would always be in a hurry, then when things didn’t happen, or should I say I didn’t see result quickly, I would quit. I am now taking baby steps to achieve my goals and it feels great. I am unsure of how my journey will go, but I am trusting the process and feel that all will come when it is time.

    • Good for you Angela. You’ve made a significant shift that will serve you well going forwards. Taking small steps on a consistent basis, trusting your intuition to guide you (as well as the process) AND remaining awake to possibilities will open the way for you. Enjoy the journey!

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