Remember, don’t try to eat the elephant all at once…

So you have made that life changing decision (for me it was going into the world of self-employment so I can start my own business and finish writing my books). You hand your notice in at work, spend the next four weeks of your life sat at your desk excited to be on the precipice of a new beginning, you have a farewell party with colleagues, you have plans….big plans….and then…

You leave, and its just you.

You and your plan. You and your big idea. You and your many ideas…

Then the big  question of ‘where do I start?’ 

Suddenly you become very aware of the thought processes in your head, the positive words you are using to either get yourself out of bed at the crack of dawn to put in a hard workout at the gym and then to start planning and doing, but also the negative thoughts of self-doubt such as you are making it up as you go along and you have so many things you want to do and accomplish but how do you know which one to start with first?  You can easily find yourself in a state of analysis paralysis.

When these thoughts jostle for space in my head (also see previous post ‘When Self Doubt Ruins The Party..’)  there is a very random, yet amazingly simple phrase that springs to mind which my manager at my previous job told me on my first day;

‘Remember, don’t try to eat the elephant all at once, eat it bit by bit’.

Now, I just want to clear up right here and now, I don’t advocate eating elephants! (Never thought I would have a need to write that sentence in my life…) I bloody love them, they are magnificent creatures! (Really I do, I’m not just saying that! If I could I would live in a world where I could be surrounded by elephants, orangutans, donkeys, pandas, dogs and piglets all day everyday).

Anyway, the point of the phrase is about what the elephant represents. Its acknowledging that, like elephants, big plans and big ideas are…well….big! They can’t be accomplished in one night. Looking at the big end goal of what you want to achieve when you are stood at the starting line can be too overwhelming, and can lead you to not getting out of the starting blocks.  The key is to break it all down into manageable bite-size chunks and crack on with it, bit by bit, little by little, and be consistent.

  • It can start with a timetable of how you are going to manage your time
  • It can start with writing just one paragraph of a chapter
  • It can start with brainstorming your ideas
  • It can start with making a decision to reach out and make contact with someone that will kick-start your networking circle
  • It can start with heading to the local library to find a relevant book to do some research
  • It can start with heading to a busy park to just sit and get some inspiration

Ultimately, it can start any time and any place you want it to – just focus on breaking it down, and reminding yourself;


Little by little

Bit by bit.

After a while you will be able to step back and see the whole big elephant picture is coming together.

So don’t think too much.

Just start.

Ps: On a separate elephant themed note – how do you fit an elephant in a fridge? Let me know your answers in the comments section below…. 🙂

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