Eating An Elephant

In the aftermath of a hurricane, a man once lost everything: his house, barn, sheds, and livestock. His property laid covered with debris to the point the ground was not visible. A local news-reporter was out surveying the damage when he spotted the middle-aged man staring. He asked the man how he was going to clean such a big mess.

“Well,” the man started as he picked up a piece of lumber. “I’m going to place this board here.”
“Then,” he continued as he picked up a limb, “I’m going to place this branch over here.” With a chuckle, he jested, “It’s like eating an elephant.”

This comment vexed the reporter, “What do you mean, eating an elephant?”
The man grabbed another board for the pile. “You can’t eat an elephant in one bite. But, you can eat an elephant one bite at a time. Metaphorically speaking, of course.”

Moments in life will bring chaos. Perhaps, at work, we adopted a neglected program from others. Or, it resulted from our mismanagement. Still, worrying about where to start is never a solution.

Before attempting a resolution, we need to ensure our mindset is right. Not angry, upset, nor aggravated, we need a clear mind with a positive attitude. Starting a project with a break allows us to plan our approach. If we have no idea how to find a resolution, seek help. Find someone with positive input. A negative yapper creates frustration.

Set aside time. An instant gratification approach will only lead to disappointment. If we feel we don’t have the time, then we need to make time. No one has time to be sick in bed with a cold, yet millions of people spent each year doing it. We have time.

We don’t have problems. We have situations requiring resolution. That is what we bring, resolution. Naming a challenging event solves it as well as name-calling an associate. So, stop telling others that there is a problem. Instead, let them know their help is required. Don’t complain while asking for help. “I love to listen to bickering.”, said no one ever.

Embrace the suck. Anyone completing an enlistment in the military understands this saying better than most. Yes, complications complicate things. That’s why they’re called complications. Our job is to solve them. Even a shoe company used that mindset as their catchphrase, “Just do it.”

Cleaning up the aftermath isn’t fun. But, with one bite at a time and a positive approach, one can manage it. Never underestimate the power of a can-do attitude.

Stay happy, my friends.

Steve Curtis

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