“there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” - Desmond Tutu
I don’t know about you, but sometimes this phrase/quote/question really chaps my ass. No offense Desmond. First of all, I’ve never eaten an elephant and I’ve never taken a 1000 mile journey on foot. So for me, the analogy is a bit off. Let’s look at some more equally ass-chapping quotes:
- Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.~ Robert Louis Stevenson
- Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.~ Robert Collier
- Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow. ~ Doug Firebaugh
- Each step you take reveals a new horizon. You have taken the first step today. Now, I challenge you to take another. ~ Daniel Poynter
- Success is the sum of small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward. ~ Chinese proverb
The problem with all of these quotes, is that it doesn’t help us figure out what the proverbial elephant is. What is the harvest I want to reap? What is success? What is a better tomorrow? What is a new horizon?
A little negative I know, but right now, I almost feel like asking: How do you get drunk? One glass of wine at a time.
It’s been a rough week. We all have our ups and downs, and this week I’ll acknowledge… I’m down. It’s hard to get to work when you feel a little lost and not sure what’s up. I do a lot of work thinking about my goals and goal attainment. So, like I said at the beginning of the week. Reconnect, Refocus, Rejuvenate. Has it worked? How are you doing? For me, I’d score myself a 5 or 6. I do feel refocused, but not as connected as I want to be. Thankfully, I have a lot of good people around me that keep me young, and a large portion of that must be credited to my family and my closest friends.
So, when you’re in a slump–what do you do? Well, let me show you what I do when I’m not sure what I should be doing. I go back to the goal setting drawing board and figure out what really means the most to me.
This week, we talked about Pareto–using it to prune your life down. Figuring out what your area of excellence is–what are you good at? Well, if you’re still scratching your head, get out some paper and answer these questions. These will help you figure out what’s most important to you, and help you set a foundation for all the elephants you decide to eat–and even more importantly, WHY.
Seven Things To Do When You don’t know What To Do
- What are the five things that you value most in your life? (write these down) What are your most important values? What are the five things that you’d fight for, stand up for, or pay the most for? (Only a small percent of the population has ever written down their five most important values, doing so makes you one of the few. These five things comprise the foundation of your life–and will be the basis of all your goals.)
- In 30 seconds or less, write down the three most important goals in your life, right now.
- What would you do if you won a million tax-free dollars? The real question here is, if there were no financial limitations to what you could do today, what would it be? Would you pay off bills? Would you go on a trip? What would you really do?
- What would you do if you found out today that you only had 6 months to live? This question exposes what our true values in life are. If what you would do is different than the answers to the first three questions, then you might need to re-evaluate what your values truly are. You might be fooling yourself.
- What is one thing that you haven’t done because you are afraid to try? Remember that fear is just a conditioned response to your past, your beliefs–or even someone else’s belief that they’ve taught you. Many of us are or aren’t doing something because, that’s the way they or someone they know has always done it. Fear is just a conditioned process, we can break down and overcome fear with courage.
- Look at your life and reflect on the things that give you the greatest feelings of well-being, the greatest feelings of satisfaction. What makes you feel most important and satisfied with your life? Answers to this question or not being able to will also tell you a lot about your self-esteem and self-worth.
- Finally, imagine if I gave you a magic pill that if you took it, you’d be able to accomplish one thing without fail. What would that one thing be? The beauty of this question is that if you can put your pen to paper and really write what your heart desires, then you can accomplish it. I strongly believe that the universe, nature, the gods are not capricious; I know that if you can crystalize this one thing in your mind and put it on paper, then you can achieve it. No questions. The only question will be is, are you willing to pay the price. Are you willing to do the thing that your heart desires?
I’ve done the above assessment on myself a few times already–and I had forgotten how much I love the outdoors. Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, Whitewater rafting/kayaking/canoeing, Snowboarding–any physical adventure were the things I used to live every second of every day for, I’d forgotten this. But today, I’ve taken the magic pill and I’m not turning back.
I challenge you to take time today or over the weekend to answer all of these questions and pull them from the ether and put them on paper. If you can do this, you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll give yourself a road map to your greatest accomplishments.
Next week, I’m in North Carolina teaching Boy Scouts and their parents how to rock climb near Stone Mountain. It’s beautiful there. I’m going to still try to post my NFTM–since when I’m at camp I’m usually up even earlier than when I’m at home. I look forward to the change of environment. I’ll send some pictures.
Happy Friday! Love you all! Let’s have a great day today.