“How to Eat an
Have you set any
It's a little
overwhelming. Perhaps you're not sure where to start, or how to make things happen. To cope with these feelings,
take a moment to reflect upon the old adage: “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer: One bite at a
big and heavy animals. An average elephant weighs in at six tons, or 12,000 pounds. Their skin alone weighs a
ton and is up to 1 1/2 inches thick. It would take a lot of bites to eat an elephant!
It would be
impossible to eat an entire elephant in one sitting. Over time, however, you could eat an entire elephant. The
average person eats about 3,000 pounds of food every year. At this rate, it would take about four years to eat
It would take
years, but it could be done.
We all have elephants in our lives. We have projects or goals that we desperately want to
accomplish, but feelings of overwhelm get in the way. Perhaps we feel like we’re not ready, don’t have enough
time or resources, or whatever it takes to get the job done. The problem is that we’re looking at the whole
elephant rather than bite-size pieces.
We give up before we start.
Rather than take action, we stand still. Like a deer caught in the glare of bright headlights, we
become immobilized. We tell ourselves that something is too difficult, demanding or beyond our
We’re looking at the whole elephant.
It’s been said that all great achievement begins with desire. We must decide what we really want,
and then dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to attaining it. Our desire must be fueled by compelling reasons
to take action. After all, we need to stay motivated and focused in order to succeed.
Have you determined the goals you want to accomplish this year? Here is a simple action plan to
help you cut your “elephants” into bite-size pieces.
On a piece of paper, write down exactly what you want to do. Perhaps you want to solve a problem,
overcome a bad habit, or accomplish a big goal. Whatever it is, you must have confidence that you can do it.
You must also have compelling reasons to succeed. In other words, you must have a big purpose. A big "why."
speaker John DiLemme puts it, “Find your why and fly.” In his seminars and teaching materials, Mr. DiLemme
admits that he was a lifelong stutterer. He couldn’t get through a sentence without stammering. What turned
things around was writing out his goals on an index card, and carrying it with him everywhere. He read the card
several times during the day, especially when anxiety and self-doubt set in. Mr. DiLemme also wrote down
compelling reasons why he wanted to stop stuttering.
After two years,
Mr. DiLemme accomplished his goal. Not only did he stop stuttering, he also became a millionaire in his
business. “If I can do this, anyone can!’ he claims.
Success begins with writing out your
goals as well as compelling reasons to attain them. Even if your goals look like life-size elephants, write
Ask yourself, “what do I need to do to make this happen?” Make a list of action steps to help you
break the task into smaller, less intimidating, bite-size pieces.
Next, prioritize your list. Put them in order of
importance. What needs to be done first? Also, determine where you can delegate responsibility, or ask others to help. Lastly, set a deadline for accomplishing your goals
or completing the project.
With this action plan, you too can face a herd of elephants. When you see them coming, you won’t be
lost or trampled in the stampede. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, you will calmly and confidently set goals.
Plus, you’ll establish the steps needed to get results. Just remember to take things one step at a time.
Return to Articles page