RIDDLE: HOW DO YOU EAT AN ELEPHANT? ANSWER: ONE BITE AT A TIME!
If you have a fear, frustrating or intimidating obstacle, or an overwhelming task in front of you, the eat an elephant strategy is the best way to get yourself successfully to the other side of the problem. That is, by chuking down the problem you’re facing into manageable, “bite sized” pieces and then focusing on each piece, one bite at a time you put yourself in the very best position for success.
Far too many athletes focus on the fear or obstacle that’s in front of them as one huge, intimidating, insurmountable whole. Like the runner facing a brutal climb up a monster hill, they look all the way to the top, at how far away it is and how badly they’ll suffer trying to get there. When you approach a fear, obstacle or tough mission in that way you’ll end up getting freaked out and discouraged. You’ll begin to seriously question your ability to persevere. You’ll be flooded by self-doubts. When you do that it’s like trying to shove that entire elephant down your throat in one bite. You’ll be left with a nasty and flattening case of indigestion!
If it’s a fear that you’re dealing with, focusing on the entire FEAR and how insurmountable it seems will immobilize you. When that happens you’ll get into avoidance, and if there’s one thing that feeds your fears it’s avoiding them! When you move away from things that you’re afraid of, what you fear will GROW and GROW! The only way to shrink and overcome fear is by facing the thing that you fear and chunking it down into very small, bite-sized pieces.
You have to discipline yourself to chunk that “hill” that’s in front of you down into smaller, managable pieces and then focus on one piece at a time, all the way up the hill. You can handle a small “piece.” That’s doable, right? Once you get that one under your belt, then you go on to the next one, and then the next one, etc. When you approach a tough task or fear in this way, you’ll feel more motivated and confident with each small piece that you successfully put behind you. You will build up some positive momentum which will then eventually carry you all the way to the top of that “huge, scary hill.”
REMEMBER, “INCH BY INCH IT’S A CINCH, BUT YARD BY YARD IT MAY BE TOO HARD!”