HOW TO TAME A LION
I know, I know…I’m pretty sure in this day and age there aren’t too many people doing a Google search on taming circus animals, especially since so few circuses are around anymore corralling wild animals in the name of entertainment. (Let’s not even talk about this antiquated method of live performance anyway, it will just piss me off being the pacifistic animal rescuer that I am).
So if I’m not here to teach you about taming lions, what could I possibly need to share with you today? Good question. Fortunately, it’s an easy answer. I’m simply here to remind you to do one thing, and it’s something I’ve been working on pretty diligently for the past few weeks. Is the anticipation killing you yet?
Come on into the Big Top, grab a seat in the Grandstand and direct your attention to the Center Ring…okay, enough of the circus talk already. Here’s the answer to your question,
“Take it one step at a time.”
Seems simple enough, we’ve all heard that tried and true, easy to spew advice sometime in our life when we’ve been faced with a problem so big it seemed impossible to tackle, kind of like taming a lion. But really, what the hell does it mean? And who, when they have a friend or loved one in need, just resorts to this response like a knee to a reflex hammer in the doctor’s office? I know I have, but I’m making amends for it right now.
How do you go about tackling whatever issue it is you have one step at a time anyway? Well for starters, you have to quit making it so big, hairy and audacious. As impossible as a problem may seem to solve, the simplest way to solve it is to break it down into tiny digestible pieces.
For example, say you want to be completely debt free. You’re like most Americans and have a double income household, a couple of children, two vehicles and a 3 bedroom 2 bath home with a nice sized yard. You have a dog for the kids to play with and limited family time together except for on the weekends or during the short vacations you manage to take every year. You keep in touch with your friends, family and co-workers on you iPhone and you consume your entertainment from satellite TV after putting the kids to bed while lounging on your sectional with a glass of wine in your family room.
Picture look a bit familiar? How about the goal of debt freedom? Stick with me, it’s about to get deep.
You and your spouse have managed to save up a tiny bit of money in your savings account, maybe enough to get you by for a month if you had no new money coming in. Suddenly, your spouse is terminated from his or her job of 11 years, being replaced by someone younger who will do the job for much less. The vehicle you drive to work desperately needs a new set of tires and brakes because it’s gone at least 5,000 miles squeaking and it’s starting to pull when you drive it.
Your house that’s been a great place for providing shelter for your small family sprouts a noticeable leak in the roof which now needs to be replaced. One of your children decided to play a little too rough with a friend at school and needs to be rushed to the emergency room for stitches in his head. Your other child decided it would be fun to feed his Nerf ball to the dog who now has to be rushed to the emergency vet to remove the blockage.
After dealing with all these “issues” and you finally make it home to try and relax, that bottle of red wine you and your spouse would normally enjoy during TV time gets knocked over, spilling onto your iPhone and your off white colored sectional while you were reaching for your remote.
Holy cow, that’s one hell of a bad day, and maybe a bit extreme. Even if you faced half of those obstacles to living debt free, how would you manage? Most of us would cope by running up large amounts of debt to conquer these problems all at once, which would make that goal of living debt free seem like a straight up fantasy. What if instead of feeling sucked into that deep abyss of debt, you avoided it all together by tackling each setback, you guessed it, one step at a time?
Break down “living debt free” into easy, manageable tasks with deadlines. Obviously, in this situation, your spouse would need to replace his or her income first, or you would need to find a better paying job yourself. But I’m not here to tell you what your strategy should be. I’m simply here to say you need a strategy, with measurable goals, that can be broken down into plans, that are made up of smaller tasks, that can be completed by deadlines that you set.
That’s right, I said YOU need to be both the CEO and the Editor in Chief when it comes to taming those lions in your life. If you still feel a little uneasy about the lion in the room, just remember, he’s only as ferocious as you let him be.
Oh yeah, and one more VERY important piece of advice. Make sure you write that shit down; your goals, plans, tasks, deadlines, all of it. I’m pretty sure you already know it, but all the top-performing CEO’s have on thing in common, a road map!
Next lesson…finding an elephant. Oh, the places we will go. Thanks Dr. Seuss.