I had a chance to see my favorite author, Cheryl Strayed, speak last month. She wrote Wild, Tiny Beautiful Things, Torch and just released Brave Enough. In addition to her keynote, I got to have her sign the copy of Tiny Beautiful Things that a dear friend sent me. Inside my book, Cheryl penned to me: Take the balloon.

I thought a lot about this inscription and the words in her speech in the days that followed. While her books and memoirs span vast human experiences, the simple tenant she shares is this: There can be all sorts of support, tools and help available, but, at the end of the day, YOU have to be part of the process. Reach up. Take the balloon.

There are parts of all of our lives where the balloon is a big thing, pulling us out of the dirty muck that inevitably will come our way.

But every day there are little things, too. Small choices that we can make to help us be a slightly better version of ourselves. Those balloons count, too. When the little things are going well, it helps make the big things less overwhelming.

There are so many little, everyday things that I started to think of as balloons after Cheryl’s speech. Fitting in a workout, doing my daily meditation, leaving the chocolate alone after lunch, ignoring my email while I’m with my kids, skipping a glass of wine and opting for better sleep. These are mine. Everyone’s list is different.

A big part of the process for me has been figuring out what my balloons really are. The little things I can choose to control so that I’m better able to handle the big things that I can’t.

Take the balloon.