The Blog.

The Power of Baby Steps – a personal story (and some very exciting news!)

14 Feb 2012 | Business Life, Personal Productivity

Not too long ago, someone challenged me: “Grace I think you’re afraid of digging deeper, of being known as an expert in one area.”

It wasn’t the first time I had been aware of this. I’ve always been good at most things I put my hand to (except gardening). Quick at picking things up. You could say jack of all trades.

I’ve noticed though with any learning, there comes a point where you need to really push in to continue developing. Where you invest emotionally, physically and intellectually on a whole new level. Yup, that’s usually where I get distracted by the next shiny new thing.

Back to this expert thing.

Ever since I’ve been coaching parents who are juggling business and family, the big question that always comes up is one of time: “How do I fit it all in? There’s so much to do and so little time.” Being a mum of two small children myself, I know exactly where they are coming from.

Which is why I’ve been on a personal and professional quest to get to grips with productivity, to decipher what works for different people.

It wasn’t until last summer that I tentatively embraced the title ‘expert’, when the folks at Screw Work Let’s Play invited me to be their Parent Productivity Expert.

Boy was that a crazy experience. I kept thinking “Any moment now, I’m going to get ‘found out’. I’m not the expert they think I am.” But I kept going. And I was delighted to receive this feedback:

“Grace rocked the Screw Work Let’s Play expert zone as our parent productivity coach. Her tutorial video was so rich with tips and gems of wisdom and advice that I was recommending people watch it about 3 times to really soak it all in. Grace’s calm, clear and sparkling approach to parenthood and making it work so you don’t have to sacrifice your own dreams and enjoyment in life made a big difference to a lot of our participants on the 30 Day Challenge.”

Selina Barker, Screw Work Let’s Play

As if that’s not exciting enough…

I’m now writing a book!!

The title is 21 Ways to Manage the Stuff that Sucks Up Your Time and it’s going to be published as part of the 21 Ways series.

How has that happened? For me it really was a case of taking baby steps.

Baby Steps mean you don’t have to have it all worked out before you start

As a naturally disorganised person, I would never have started with “I know, I’ll write a book on productivity!”

Instead, I focused on helping one person at a time, answering one question at a time. Putting myself out their one little risk at a time.

Baby steps can sneak past fear and confidence wobbles

Do I have what it takes? I don’t know. Can I have a go at just this tiny little bit of it? Yes I can.

In fact that’s exactly what I’ve been doing with running. Imagine for a moment that sport was never your strength. The last time you ran was probably for the bus. And you’ve been driving for 8 years. That was me at the beginning of this year.

The only way to get me running was to start really really small. Get under the radar of my out of shape body and terrified mind. So I did, with a series of 1 minute runs followed by 90 second walks. It’s now week six and I’m onto 8 minute runs.

Baby steps overcome overwhelm and move mountains

It’s all about making things doable. It breaks down big hairy goals into small, specific steps you can focus on and absolutely achieve.

Baby steps bypass procrastination and create momentum

Because you actually get started. You take action. And keep going. Rather than cram, crash and burn. As much as I love being a last minute girl, there’s no way I can get this book written overnight.

There’s a lovely saying that made me smile recently: “Even the snail made it to the ark.”

But baby steps work equally well when you need to get something done fast.

Baby steps give you the focus you need to meet crazy deadlines

My book deadline is the 30th March! Yikes! The only way I know I can make this is if I take baby steps every day.

Which is why I’ve put together this 40 Days of Baby Steps. Because I know I work better with company. How about you? Fancy joining me? We kick off tomorrow with personal brainstorming sessions.


  1. judithwelltree

    Grace, this is wonderful news!  Go for it!

  2. Simon Jordan

    When you get the first delivery of your book there is nothing like it. A proud moment for sure. Go for it Grace.

    • Grace Marshall

      I’m looking forward to it Simon. Thanks for being one of my many friends who have spurred me on 🙂

  3. Marion

    Grace, a good story well told and now you’ve told us all about your deadline you will no doubt take 40 small steps for Grace, one giant leap for womankind.  Very excited for you and look forward to seeing you in print.

    • Grace Marshall

      Thanks Marion! Nothing quite like public accountability is there? 🙂

  4. Glenda Shawley

    Well done Grace. Your expertise is shining through. There’s no question of you being ‘found out’ as anything but someone who knows what she is talking about. go for it girl.

    • Grace Marshall

      Bless you thanks Glenda. I wanted to share that because I know I’m not the only one who gets that ‘imposter syndrome’!

  5. Shelly

    Grace, that’s brilliant news. I know exactly what you mean about being an expert and digging deeper. I’ve spent the last 12 months working toward the same thing, as you may have noticed 🙂 Well done on your book, you deserve to be very proud of yourself x

    • Grace Marshall

      Thanks Shelly! It’s great to see you digging deeper too – especially as a scanner – well done! 🙂

  6. Naomi

    Well done Grace – that is great news. Baby steps is the way to go with most new things I think – its a bit like growing a buiness organically. It is true to say, ‘You cant run before you can walk’ and I think in business there is a reason why a journey happens – it is because you were not ready for it to happen.

  7. Kristen Eckstein

    Congrats on becoming a part of the “21 Ways” family, Grace! We’re excited to have you!

  8. Julia

    Grace, thank you for sharing your experience and expertise. Very exciting re your book. x

  9. Shirley

    Hi Grace,

    The things you say really resonate with me. I too always get distracted by the next shiny new thing, fear that I will be found out and have an out of shape body and terrified mind. It is so good to know that you have overcome these obstacles and made things work for you. I am toying with the idea of starting a new career – buying a franchise and being my own boss. Having always worked for others, I am finding this a terrifying prospect, especially at the age of 49, and am consumed by fear of failure. Reading your inspiring gems of wisdom is making me realise that perhaps my dream is achievable.


    • Grace Marshall

      Hi Shirley, welcome to the blog and thanks for sharing your comment. I think there’s always an element of fear before we do something new. Often full confidence comes after we’ve done something, rather than before. Your dream is absolutely achievable. Give yourself the resources, support and encouragement you need to take your baby steps and you’ll know it for yourself. Have fun!


  1. Business Mums Blog Carnival for February 2012 | ACE Inspire - [...] Elaine from Littlesheep Learning shares her “Trip to Spring Fair International“, Helen from  KiddyCharts asks “Just stop piling on…
  2. What do you need to give yourself? | Grace Marshall Life and Business Coaching - [...] give myself clarity, rest and fuel. Which for me translates to working with my own coach, taking baby steps, being…
Image if author Grace Marshall

About Grace

I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I help people adopt new ways of working and thinking about their work to replace stress, overwhelm and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction.

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