How to Eat The Elephant’s in Your Life and Business.
Of course you eat an elephant, ‘one bite at a time.’ Just as you drink from a firehouse; carefully.
And yes every one of us be it; monthly, daily or hourly worry that we might not be up for this elephant we’ve chosen, that we might fail, choke to death or die of elephant suffocation. Maybe you’re not currently eating an elephant but rather drinking from a fire hose . The truth is tackling a big hairy audacious goal ( thanks Jim Collins) going after your dreams, re-envisioning your life or business, creating something new can be absolutely terrifying.
You could say I team to help others with elephant sized goals and dreams. I get big hairy goals that are so out of this world you don’t want to tell anyone for fear they will have you locked up and I get that taking a drink from the fire hose feeling. Here are 6 questions I’ve developed to help me when the goal, dream and pace of the journey threatens to overwhelm me.
1. What elephant?
Yes. First WHAT goal, dream, vision do you want to realize?
Begin with deciding which elephant you want to focus on. I know for some of us, choosing is the hardest part! A decision is just that, a ‘cutting off’ of other options. Elephant eating and fire hose drinking requires full attention. Your ROA ( return on attention) will be highly impacted by the resources, energies you bring to the table. So prioritize your elephants and choose WHAT elephant you want to focus on eating – NOW!
2. What is the ‘end in mind, success marker, how will you know you ate the elephant’?
Before you pick up that fork or lean over to get that drink write down exactly what your intent is. What is the end in mind, when you get done eating this elephant what will you have accomplished? What is the desired result? Success markers are the evidence you realized what you intended. Describe the goal, dream as specifically as possible in writing and then find photos and create a vision board of your elephant eaten- goal realized. All activity is not equal. Busyness is not necessarily accomplishment or forward progress.
3.What’s the backward map and sequence to get there?
Once the ‘end in mind,’ goal is clearly defined stand, metaphorically speaking there, at the end and look back at where you came from. ( Yes where you are today, in reality)This ‘gap’ between your ‘end in mind’ and where you are today is the journey that must be navigated. Now it’s time to backward map the journey. Sequentially identify the success benchmarks that you want to hit along the way, the benchmarks that will witness to the fact that you’ve made progress. The small goals within the big goal. Sequence and benchmark mapping is critical to elephant eating navigation.
4. Who will help and How will we finish off this elephant?
Identify the skills, expertise, abilities and resources you will need to complete your feast. ‘Who will help” matters about as much as ‘What elephant’. Don’t you dare undertake the goals and dreams of your life without adequate support team and resources. Get the forks, napkins and trash delivery set up ahead of time because no one accomplishes greatness in a vacuum. Once the resources necessary are clear outline the strategy (ies) you are going to use for the first part of the journey ( to get from here to your first benchmark of success). Will you be grilling, using a fork, inviting a team over for a buffet? Specifically how will you progress?
5. Focus on this bite, then the next.
One of the problems with big goals, elephant sized dreams and fire hose drinking is they induce fear paralysis and doubtmania. Once the benchmarks for success have been set and the ‘end in mind’ is clear-stop worrying about it. A double minded woman is unstable in all that she does. ( A good book says this and I’ve proven it!) Be aware of goal ruining rumination and worry. ( This is the part that’s hardest for me and my clients) Don’t future trip, it robs you of the ‘now’ and the ‘now’ is where you need to be, engaged fully; heart, head and hands to navigate this elephantitis journey.
Yes, quality is a moment by moment experience. Be disciplined in showing up. Be your best in each moment. You only need to play this moment, then the next. Forget the big picture. Tune in and start biting, chewing and swallowing. Focus on what is in front of you. Overwhelm and indigestion set in when you eat more than you can manage. Pace yourself. Do the next thing.
Make peace with the present. Okay, so maybe you’ve been eating for some time and only managed to eat the right ear of your 700 lb elephant. It’s okay. Embrace the ear! Stay focused. Keep showing up.Take action. Have fun. This is the buffet of a lifetime.
6.What do you believe is possible? How often will you Assess your progress? How open are you to modifying, tweaking or changing course?
If you find yourself worrying or falling prey to fear paralysis you’ve probably stopped eating, drinking or believing. Faith matters, for as a women thinketh so she becomes. Think. Do. Be. First you must believe. I mean you can’t even choose WHAT elephant if you don’t first believe in the possibility, your goal, dream.
If fear is mounting and results are slow to manifest step back and assess your progress. Ask yourself if it’s time to modify the game plan, strategies? Change your benchmarks and tactics? Get more resources? Change elephants? Stay flexible. Remain open. Eating an elephant sized goal or vision is a process, experience, unfolding and creation in and of itself, steward it carefully – this is your one incredible life.
Now excuse me but I’ve got to go take a bite…of this humongous elephant of mine
Life was meant to be lived. Design a life full of elephant sized goals and dreams that matter to you.
pam @ pam hoelzle. com
425 218 5864