Eating an Elephant

Posted on Posted in Your Questions

Please exhale, I am not writing today to respond to a new safari-themed diet fad. (Heaven help us when we get to that point.) I’m writing to offer a little perspective. Occasionally, when we embark on a mission to be improve our career we start with an enviable amount of enthusiasm. We buy books, we meet with business specialists or we tell everyone about our effort to improve our billing.

This “new endeavor energy” soon wanes (two weeks seems to be the norm) and days and weeks go by with out action. We we are still on chapter two, haven’t followed up with that consultant, and we hope clients forget our project to change our billing when it’s time for a payment. The zest for our new plan is replaced with frustration and possibly some confusion. This loss of momentum is where the real work starts and most often where we tend to quit. If we could pause here for just a moment, I’d like to evaluate the problem.

Maybe, we bit off more than we can chew. Adding a new element to a business or changing old systems is work. Adding too many elements or too drastic of a change is even harder. Let’s take a step back and assess. Was your ambition greater than what is realistic? Could you have experienced more success with smaller goals? simpler tasks? I’d argue, quite possibly, yes.

Being a successful professional is a multifaceted endeavor. The solution to your quandary is the same answer to the question: How do you eat an elephant? ONE BITE AT A TIME. Keeping our tasks doable allows room for success and that success refuels us, unlike the fleeting “new endeavor energy.”

So, try to read one chapter a week, pick a solitary piece of advice from your meeting, or break down revamping your billing into a step wise process with a realistic completion date. The trick is to slowly, steadily chomp away at those old practices so that these new, manageable changes become routine. Once the improvement process is habitual our progress is automatic. Eventually, everything starts to feel manageable and rewarding. Eating an elephant isn’t impossible, it just has to be tackled one bite at a time.

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