Baby Steps (by Flickr user "chasing butterflies")

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As you make your way through life, there are many different paths that you can choose to take.

Some of these will look like the fast track to success, cutting corners where you can and finding the shortest distance between where you are and where you want to be. Some of these paths may be riddled with challenges and they may lead you to meander off-route on more than one occasion. Which is the route that you will choose to take?

In much the same way, you may seek out methods and tactics that appear to push your career forward at the fastest pace possible. Some of the greatest inventions and innovations that this world has ever seen have come about in this way. For instance, Twitter didn’t grow its user base at a snail’s pace; it exploded onto the scene, growing faster than anyone could have possibly imagined. Then again, other companies have taken a different approach. Look at what Toyota was able to do in the last 20 years.

Are taking three baby steps the same thing as taking a single giant leap? Don’t you end up at the same place either way?

Crawl Before You Walk

If we take the analogy of a baby taking her first steps, we have to understand that the baby didn’t suddenly jump up on her feet and make a mad dash to the cookie jar. First, she had to learn how to sit up on her own. After that, maybe she figured out how to crawl. Only then (and probably with a little help from the coffee table), she was able to stumble forward for a few bipedal steps.

You have to learn how to crawl before you walk and that’s why it’s important to develop a foundation of building blocks so that you can be better prepared to tackle future obstacles and challenges.

Taking the route of “baby steps,” you’ll have the opportunity to experience life as it happens, stopping to smell the roses and all that. With this path, it’s also easier not to lose sight of helping others. Rapid success can make you forget about the little people who helped you along the way.

Hit the Power of the Ramp

Think about what happens to a pool of water when you slowly descend in from the edge. You barely disturb the surface. Now think about what happens when you do a cannonball off the diving board. That’s how you make a huge splash and that’s exactly what happens when you use “the ramp” in promoting or marketing your company. Instead of building up your company image in a slow and steady matter, you crash the party and attract as much attention as possible as quickly as possible.

Although Apple was already fairly established with its iPods and MacBooks, you could say that Apple used the ramp to market the first iPhone. It made a huge splash by taking a giant leap forward. They were not shy about trying to gobble up as much of the market share as possible as quickly as possible, rather than slowly infiltrating the market one subscriber at a time. There is the potential cost of success, but that was not their concern.

Would the iPhone have achieved the same level of success and popularity today if Apple quietly released it as a small niche product? Probably not. It was about making the largest and fastest impact possible.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race?

Whether you choose to approach life with baby steps or with giant leaps is largely a matter of personal preference. Baby steps will give you more time to enjoy the journey and soak in the experiences that you gain along the way, but it will take a lot longer to see many of your ambitions come to any sort of fruition. Giant leaps may result in greater success, but it also involves bigger risks, more substantial gambles, and less time to enjoy the ride.

Either way, you need to make sure that you keep moving forward and that you are not afraid to be a little different. You don’t want to suck in life and this choice is ultimately in your hands. Small steps or big steps, the most important thing is not to stand still.