Poquito a poquito

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Amanda Wang and her trainer Moises, inside the historic Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn

During my trip to New York, I had the good fortune to meet up with my good friend and client Amanda Wang. I have written and spoken about Amanda many times, including in my TEDx talk about the power of the next generation. Amanda has Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD, and has devoted her life to helping people understand and manage this debilitating mental illness. Amanda is also training for the Golden Gloves, and won her first fight last month.

I sat down for coffee with Amanda and her trainer Moises in Brooklyn, and we talked about the parallels between boxing and building a business. Both Moises and I are passionate Amanda fans, and we talked about how proud we were of her many accomplishments.

“You can go all the way,” Moises said to Amanda, after talking about witnessing the killer look in her eyes in the third round of her winning fight. “You can win the Golden Gloves.”

“You can do great things in the world,” I said, talking with her about an emerging speaking career, as well as her graphic design and video production businesses. “Your story is tremendously motivational, and you could reach a lot of people with your message.”

Amanda’s big grin turned into a grimace.

“You guys are starting to scare me” she said. “I get kind of freaked out when I look at the big picture. I don’t know if I can do it all.”

“Amanda,” said Moises, “All you have to worry about is “poquito a poquito” (little by little). Focus on what is right in front of you and do it well.”

Poquito a poquito became our favorite metaphor of the afternoon. And I used it the next day with a client who had a similar “holy s*it” moment when she looked at all that was involved in making her business model come alive.

Do you  stop yourself  from doing great things in the world because you think you need to know how to do everything before you start?

You don’t.

You just have to know the tiny step in front of you. And if you don’t know how to take the tiny step, ask someone smart.

A book starts by opening your word processor each day and pounding out some words.
A movement starts by gathering a passionate group of people around a table in a cafe.
A business starts by putting up a tiny service page and “buy” button.


Poquito a poquito wins the race.

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11 Responses to “Poquito a poquito”

  1. […] east of Austin, I saw a street called Poquito. It was my lightbulb. Why? The answer lies in this post from the lovely Ms. Slim, which (apparently) has stuck with me for well over a […]

  2. […] east of Austin, I saw a street called Poquito. It was my lightbulb. Why? The answer lies in this post from the lovely Ms. Slim, which (apparently) has stuck with me for well over a […]

  3. […] kinds of normal human fears and anxieties are what really interest me. I also love to write about my clients and readers, because they are my true heroes. It brings me tremendous joy to share their courage […]

  4. totally inspiring, loved this so much that I’m reposting on our Twitter feed @jpatrickjobs

  5. Don says:

    I liked this post a lot. It reminded me of the wonderful book by Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.
    Thanks for sharing Amanda’s success.

  6. […] (I would like to thank Pam Slim and Justin Lukasavige for teaching me about this world of […]

  7. fas says:

    What progress, good stuff. Again enlightens the entrepreneurial spirit.

  8. Emily Suess says:

    What great timing for me. I’m getting ready to launch something new and big on my blog, and I need to keep reminding myself to take care of one little piece at a time. There’s a fine line between focusing on what you can do right now and getting tunnel vision. I’m forever wondering if I’ve crossed over to one side of the line or the other.

    By the way, I love that Amanda is a fighter. To meet her on the street, I would have never guessed it about her. I love it when people surprise me. Good luck to her in business and in sport!

  9. Hi Pam,

    There is some sort of nice contradiction. You need to see your big goal to motivate yourself and start. Then you must take one step at a time to make sure you will achieve it.


  10. Love it! So many people, including myself, often struggle with the idea of knowing everything, being in a completely comfortable place before doing certain things, especially big things. Great reminder.

  11. Deb says:

    Perfect – just what I needed to read today!