Personal Writing

A hodge podge of thoughts

Three distinct and seemingly unrelated ideas this week:

Late fall sunrises

They are simply a gift. I prefer summer sunrises that come between 5-6am because they signify long, warm days, but this one certainly holds its own in the beauty department.

A later sunrise is no less glorious. It’s a beautiful metaphor for achieving your dreams and finding success after perhaps wandering, lost or aimless on your life’s path, for way longer than you’d expected to. As I so often say, even the darkest night gives way to the morning’s light. It’s how you navigate the dark that helps to determine your appreciation of the pale threads of pinks, yellows and oranges hinting at the light about to break the horizon and illuminate your path forward. Keep going. It’s coming. It always does. We are never left perpetually in the dark, despite how long it feels that way.

Small steps matter

Little books with big ideas.

As I picked up one tiny book after another at the library a couple of weeks ago, I fixated on gathering a bunch of physically small books, but it turns out that the resounding theme of all of these books, regardless their literal size, was small step taking. In One Small Step Can Change Your Life The Kaizen Way, author Robert Maurer, PhD, takes small steps so far as to encourage people to floss one tooth for a number of days until you can add another and another, eventually flossing your entire mouth of teeth. One tooth!

What good habits might you begin incorporating into your life if getting started were that little? Lift one tinned can one time to start weight lifting? Eat one fewer potato chip? Leave one item in your shopping cart? Put one dollar into savings?

This seems almost stupid in its ease. I mean, who couldn’t do any or all of those things? But the point is, one leads to two, which leads to three…and so forth. A one pound tin lifted in each arm 10 times, three times a day will elevate your heart rate. Turning a bag of chips into two or three servings instead of one will help you lose weight. Leaving one impulse item in your cart will keep more money in your account and might give you pause over other unnecessary items, too. One saved dollar a day equals $365 over the course of a year; ten a day equals $3,650. None of those steps, still not an extraordinary commitment, will change your life overnight, but who can say no to any of them? And that’s the point: just get started doing something. You’ll be amazed at where it might take you.

After all, the only way to move down any path is to take the first step, and then the next and the next after that.

A golden celebration

November is nearly full, and there are just a few days left in December!

November 10 begins 50 days to my 50th birthday.


I’m both absolutely fine with turning 50 and starting to have some conflicted feelings about how quickly time is passing. I mean…50. Wow.

For four years, I’ve focused on the celebratory aspect of turning 50. Dr Marry and I are hosting my mother and her partner and Quinn and his girlfriend in Yorkshire, England, where we’ll have afternoon tea at Bettys Tea Room to celebrate my actual day. That’s how Dr Marry and I celebrated my 46th birthday, and it was so glorious, I declared that day that that was how I wanted to turn 50.

Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms in York, December 29, 2018.

But I’ve been thinking about the lead up to my birthday as well. Then last week, I had a lightening bolt moment when a woman I know a bit said in her newsletter that she’d recently turned 50 and was celebrating with an offering for 50 women.


I decided I would have 50 livestream conversations with 50+ year olds in my life leading up to my 50th birthday (including with Rashmir, who inspired the whole thing, on Dec 28th). As you can see, the days are filling up. I’m so excited to have these conversations with people from all facets of my life, all of whom will share wisdom they learned in the first 50 years that they are carrying forward. I hope you’ll tune in on Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube to watch them, too.

You know what the general gist of these conversations will be, right? The qualities, experiences, bumps and successes these people have learned and experienced on their path, taking one step at a time to get to 50 years and beyond.

Wrapping up

Turns out these three topics had more in common than I initially anticipated. Not sure why I’m ever surprised by that.

The Cliff’s Notes to the post? Take a step, even a really tiny one. It might not be the most effective, “right” step, but that’s less important than that you just get going. Besides, I would argue that there are no wrong steps to take. Every step moves you down your path and gives you experience to navigate where you’re going even as it’s introducing you to a new and perhaps unfamiliar landscape.

Look up and relish one sunrise as the sky changes from black to pale blue. Floss one tooth. Consider one lesson learned regardless how long you’ve been on your journey. And then keep going.

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.

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