How to eat an elephant – fearlessly

How to eat an elephant

You may or may not be familiar with the saying “ How to eat an elephant? One piece at a time” but what it means is that when you are faced with a task or project that seems as big as an elephant, the best way to tackle it is one smaller piece at a time.

Now I am not saying you should go out and eat an elephant and in fact I am very much against the killing of these beautiful majestic animals but there is something wonderful to either walk with an elephant or even ride one so lets go with that for an analogy.

Often with our fears we make them seem as big as elephants, well our fear convinces us that they are that big but really they aren’t. This is our fear’s way of keeping us safe because our fear thinks that if we think the job is too big then we wont attempt it and consequently there will be no risk of failure then and we will remain safe…and that’s its job.

But if this task or project or dream is something that our heart really wants to do then we will also be tormented with the fact that half of you (your heart) wants you to do it and the other half (your head) wants you to stay the same. To banish this torture and find true happiness you need to stare that elephant in the eye and say “I know that I have to do this, so I am going to whether you try and stop me or not!”

Now this can be a bit scary to say the least and if it is a big enough elephant then it should scare you and will continue to scare you until you have achieved it. So, how do you handle that? How do you quiet that voice that has you convinced that you cant do it? By breaking it down into smaller pieces, choosing one and then doing it.

Tell your fear to take a break for a moment and trick it by telling it that you are just going to play for a minute, you don’t intend to do anything but you are just going to play around with the “what if ”. Tell your fear that you are safe and wont be in any risk or challenging anything. Your fear will switch off and go take a nap because it thinks that it doesn’t need to protect you while you just play. Then grab a whiteboard, butchers paper or a pen and paper and brainstorm the different things you would have to do, be or have in order to be able to ride that elephant of a dream you have.

The next step is to choose one of the smallest and easiest things on that list that you can do straight away. Do this without thinking about it too much or your fear will wake up and start protecting you again. If it’s a business then you might research a business name or Google other similar businesses. If it’s a fitness goal you might call a gym and see if they have any free classes. If it’s contacting someone you might look up their number. Whatever it is, as long as it doesn’t harm you or anyone else, do it straight away. And don’t forget to acknowledge yourself for doing it too (this is very important!).

The last part of this process is to then choose another task from your list and schedule when you are going to do that. Continue this process until you have a momentum going and before you know it you will have ridden that elephant and be looking at the next one.

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