Honesty Pill

How Do You Eat An Elephant? Breaking Down Big Goals

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How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

It seems like every time I get to the end of my To Do list, somebody moves the ends. Sound familiar? Well, you are not alone. I just sent this to a few of my students who were getting bogged down in their course work, but I want to share the message with you too.

I understand how busy and over-committed we all are sometimes. That seems to be a common trait among high achievers! If you are feeling overwhelmed, maybe we can flip the script––make it a learning moment.

My Favorite Tool To Beat Overwhelm

My kids love to play with Lego. They get Lego for their birthday, Christmas, as a reward for practicing the violin, and just about any occasion. They’ve got Lego sets, boxes of Lego, and enough loose Lego pieces to fill several bathtubs. My son even talks to me about how cool it would be to 3-D print Lego bricks. It’s a bit…much.

The result? Our collection is more accurately described as an “infestation.” They’re all in a giant, unorganized box that is too much of a mess to play with. I don’t want to think about how many hundreds (thousands?) of dollars of Lego bricks are sitting there, piled too deep to do us any good.

A few months ago, I decided to do a giant sorting. I was going to separate every single brick that was attached in a clump. Full of enthusiasm, I dumped it all out on the floor of my living room. But as I emptied the last shoebox into the monster pile, my resolve wavered. How could I possibly sort this many Lego? I considered throwing all of it into the trash.

Sitting on the floor for hours with my knees throbbing, I wondered why the heck I was bothering with this. “This is unreasonable. This is crazy,” I told myself.

Then I remembered my practice training. Come up with a plan, a system of organization, a way to prioritize things. In other words, chunk it down. Break the task into manageable steps, and then just do one step after another.

I decided to break the Lego pile up by:

  • Dimension (for basic pieces)
  • Function
  • Brick type
  • and a pile called “I Don’t Know What the Heck This Is?”

Little by little, piece by piece, (over several hours!) I made it to the bottom of the pile.

When my son came home, he thought it was Christmas all over again. He rediscovered pieces of Lego that he had forgotten he ever had. Best of all, his creative energy was renewed.

There’s a lot of potential hidden in your pile of “overwhelm.” That’s one of the reasons it’s overwhelming you. If you can chunk it down, you will discover resources, tools, and gifts you’ve forgotten all about. Breaking something down into manageable chunks transforms a mountain into a series of pebbles, each of which is easy (maybe even pleasant) to manage.

Honesty Pill courses are designed to be fast-moving. If you’re getting stuck, you’re thinking too hard and turning it into a mountain. 

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

ACTION ITEM: Here’s my challenge to you––make at least one step of progress on the course or whatever goal you’re working on today. If you have a question or something has you stumped, post a question in our Facebook group, or write me a quick email. Then take one more step tomorrow. One step at a time, you’ll get there.


Please feel free to comment below if you want to chime in. Or even better, let’s continue the conversation over in the Honesty Pill Facebook Group:



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