Imagine for a moment that your life is made up of cogs. You know what a cog is right? One of those gears with the little teeth all around them. When you place them together they can begin moving one another. Turning one on this side will also turn one on the far side because of the way that all of those cogs fit together.
Now imagine that there are different sized cogs that make up your life. There are the really big cogs, perhaps at the top that really define who you are and what you're doing with your life. These bog cogs may be your career, your marriage, your personality, your fitness, etc. Underneath these large cogs are medium sized cogs that help set the direction for the largest cogs of your life. These medium sized cogs may be things like your time management, who you associate with, what your hobbies are, etc. Lastly, imagine with me that there are even smaller sets of cogs at the very bottom. These little tiny cogs may be things that seem insignificant but are pretty important. These tinest cogs may be things like what you're doing right now, what time you plan on getting up tomorrow morning, what you choose to watch or listen to, that comment that you're thinking about making, the conversation that you don't want to have but know that you must, etc.
At first, these tiny cogs seem like they don't have much impact on the ultimate course of our lives. We sometimes even slip into ignoring these tiny cogs because they feel like such a waste. Why bother with decisions that don't really make a big difference in my life? Why spend time dealing with something so small when I have so many big decisions to make? We forget about the tiny cogs and focus all of our energy on the big cogs. We try to map out a direction that we want the big cogs to move in but it's really tough to get those big cogs moving. We strive and we struggle and we toil and in the end we never really make much progress. Why?
Allow me to suggest that you've been ignoring the tiny cogs of your life. If you want to see change in your life, in your family or in your organization, start with the tiny cogs. Start by setting a new direction for your daily habits, start by better managing your margins, start by going to bed earlier, start by getting up earlier, start by changing your language, start by changing the little cogs first.
Remember, the big cogs always turn more freely and in our preferred direction when the little cogs are moving in the right direction first. Too often we attempt to turn the ship of our lives in a new direction before we've alerted the deckhands, notified the engine room or even put our hand on the steering wheel. Start small and start now.