You don't need to know how to do it all.

We bought this big, hundred year old house in the suburbs of NYC about a year and a half ago. A few weeks after we moved in, I was wrestling with my overgrown, unruly garden, when my next door neighbor drove up.

“You know the rule, right?” he said.

“What’s that?”

“Only three projects at a time.”

I laughed, knowing he was right, while mentally calculating the dozens of projects I already had identified as top priority.

As of this weekend, we’ve got a giant patch of yard dug out for a new patio, a falling apart floor in our front entry way, the garden is still wildly unruly, and the half a dozen projects that we thought would be done in the first year are so backburnered we don’t even have them on a timelline.

My husband and I sat last night staring at the vast patch of dirt that we need to somehow transform into a patio. It was a quiet moment - the kids were watching their Friday night movie and we were relaxing after a hard day of work. In the quiet, I could hear us both mentally listing the many tasks that one project encompassed. And how many more we had no idea even how to do.

In this moment, it’s easy to tip into overwhelm. How the hell are we going to get this house where we want it to be?

This is something I hear from my clients over and over again.

“I’m overwhelmed.”

There’s so much! And how will I? And I don’t know how to… And what about?

The checklist of all that needs to happen between now and when their vision is complete is vast and, let’s be honest, sometimes terrifying.

There are things in there that might make you shake in your boots - putting yourself out there in a way you never have before, asking for money, speaking in front of a crowd, sharing your story, being a version of yourself whom you feel is there, but much further away than this version who’s simply scared and overwhelmed.

It’s important to think through a project. It is. And begin to understand all the components that goes into bringing that project to completion.

But here is the step that so many people forget about, and that forgetting is why they fall into overwhelm:

Sequencing. What comes first?

So much of the time we are focused on the 6th step, or the 10th step or the 25th step.

What is the very next step?

Perhaps it’s: Write an email. Outline an idea. Set up a meeting. Make a list of potential partners. Ask a question. Press send. Identify who might be able to help you.

I can guarantee you it’s not: Get this house in order. Or even build a patio or repair an entryway.

Those are goals. Not to do items.

Each goal or project  has lots of little mini steps inside of them.

You don’t have to know how you’re going to do it all. You just need to know what to do next.

Today, for me, it’s painting just a wee bit of this front porch.

What’s your next step?