I Hate the Thought,
I hate the thought behind a common cliche’ we use when describing how to accomplish HUGE important tasks. You know, the one about eating an elephant! I get the context; but the vision of doing so is repugnant.
It’s certainly true that one accomplishes elephant-sized projects by chipping away at them on a steady consistent basis. Biting off more than we can chew leaves us with stomach distress and without the outcome desired. Yet as impatient, imperfect humans; we want what we want when we want it, which may work in theory; but rarely in practice.
The Value of Small Steps. . .
I’m involved in a local project that is both exciting and exasperating. Exciting because it has the potential to revive a sagging community and exasperating because the powers that be don’t want to relinquish the power they have.
Those of us working on the inside of the project have been forced to take it slow and steady. One step at a time. We’ve had to work every angle strategically as we profiled the powers that be in order to use the power they have to the advantage of the community.
When I was much younger, such slow deliberation would have driven me to drink; but in my ‘vintage’ years, I rather enjoy the game of small steps that lead to small successes that have the distinct advantage of getting us what we most desire. . . the next step.
Everything is a Process. . .
Everything in life and business is about small steps.
One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind, Neil Armstrong said as he stepped onto the moon’s surface. While our small steps are not nearly as dramatic; they are as meaningful for our lives and businesses as stepping into space miles from earth was for Armstrong and Aldrin.
Over the years, I’ve noticed the following about folks when confronted by big stuff: we gulp. Just think about the phrase folks say when we share a negative experience that’s challenging our steps forward. . . “suck it up!” Like slurp up the junk and move on. Get it out of our systems in one big moment. Gone, but not forgotten. Wedged between the pain of the past and the uncertainty of the future.
But the tough stuff of life is no more amenable to big gulps as is the exciting stuff about which we anxiously await the next step. In fact, folks who “stuff” their grief, pain and despair are likely to experience a resurrection when they least expect or desire.
Even grief, pain and despair are eaten with the same size spoon as that which brings joy and delight! At least if we want it to be burned at the stake and the ashes blown away in the wind!
Life is a Cliche’ When Only A Cliche’ Will Do. . .
I look back at the words above and chuckle at the number of cliche’s and figures of speech used to talk about how we ought take life in general and business as usual. “Bite off more than we can chew”. . . “chipping away”. . . “sucking it up!”
Some of the words counsel us to take small bits with short strokes; while others encourage us to chow down and swallow large even when the outcome is likely not to our liking. Physically, financially or emotionally.
For the most part, our lives are commonplace. We may have lost a sense of originality and become somewhat ingenuous with self and others. And the impact of certain life experiences that were once colorful and exciting, have now lost their luster and feel somewhat trite.
Could it be that we’ve spent a lifetime to this point either stuffing it down to get it all in; or trapped in a desire to get on with it when there’s no getting on to go with! Either road well-traveled is not one strewn with slow, steady one-step-at-a-time advances that take into account every aspect of the situation in which we find ourselves. Either because we desire to be there; or we are there through some faulty decision of our own!
The Advantage of Smelling Roses Along the Way. . .
Another cliche’, but one that is significantly truer than we might expect. Especially when it comes to establishing, developing and growing a business.
Most entrepreneurs will tell you that launching a business or life adventure of any kind is trial and error. Even the best strategies often don’t work when first tried, and we must return to the drawing board to find a better way.
Then once on our way; we encounter one obstacle and roadblock after another. After all, no one else moves at the same pace we do; nor are they willing to roll with our thunder. And trying to push the envelope only antagonizes and disrupts.
There’s an old cliche’ I believe says it all. . . a watched pot never boils. It’s true. It never does. Turn away, focus elsewhere and suddenly the pot is overflowing. Just one step away from a situation will sometimes make all the difference in whether we get what we desire by waiting, or create chaos by standing over the situation fuming because nothing is happening!
Then again, the guru’s say we must strike while the iron is hot. Yes, we must be ready to go with the flow when opportunity knocks at our door. Yet, knowing when the iron is hot and when it’s truly opportunity that’s knocking is more a function of wisdom and age; than youth and impertinence.
And it’s definitely a rhythm and balance that comes with experimentation and experience!
Back to the Basics When A Cliche’ Is All I Have. . .
To find the best place for ourselves in life and any given situation; back to the basics is always the best course of action. Back to that phrase that forever lives in infamy. . . one small step. One small step after one small step after another is how we arrive at any destination we choose to pursue in life; in business and fulfillment of our God-given purpose!
When next you encounter a good cliche’, save it for whiling away the time while you wait for the next small step in the process of life. . .
With a bit of tongue-in-cheek,
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
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