Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time

So I would never actually condone eating an elephant because they’re important and awesome and all those things. My purpose here is to talk about small changes and the small things that make big differences and make the big picture what it is.

Over the last several months I’ve taken a lot of time being introspective and thinking about what I’m doing and where I’m at in my personal life and career, and where I want to go. It’s fairly simple for me to identify things and life stages I want to hit as time goes on, but it’s not as easy to determine exactly how and when to do it. For instance, I know I want to excel in my career and move up at my company and do great work but how exactly am I going to accomplish that? I’ve decided that I’m going to simply DO it. And right about now you’re thinking, “Well that’s stupid and obvious. Of course you have to do something.” But how do you know exactly what steps to take and when to take them to reach our more broad goals with undefined dates and timelines? Well we really don’t but we can try and figure it out. And fail. And try again.

My new-found philosophy is to do it and do it now. You want to excel in your career? Start now. You want to go to grad school? Start now. Hate your job? Start looking now. In millennial terms – get that bread (don’t worry I’m judging myself for saying that). In short, I’ve decided to take action and be accountable for the things I want or do not want in my life by making small, incremental changes that will eventually lead to bigger things.

Circling back to exceling in my career – I’ve taken on new responsibilities at work this year (which is an obvious step toward my goal) but I’ve also made an active effort to get to know my coworkers better. I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone and begun initiating conversations with people I don’t know very well or am a little intimidated by (seriously there is a lot of knowledge and experience in my department) and it has already paid off. I feel more confident in myself, I’m not nervous to ask questions about subject matter I’m unaware of, and I’m really carving out my spot on the team. I’ve even been selected for a leadership mentoring program. I’ve also set a few goals in my personal life in which I’ve acted on. For example, I decided to pick up a new skill and keep myself learning, so I found a free online HTML course that I’ve been working my way through (which also served as the inspiration for this website). I want to save more money so I took the time to re-evaluate my budget and prioritize what I spend my money on (translation: cook more and drink less). I wanted to make more friends so, again, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and attended a young professionals event, started inviting mutual friends of friends to do things on the weekends, and even joined a co-ed rec volleyball league (which hasn’t begun yet so I’ll report back on that), and I’ve already made new friends!

Think of the old adage, ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself.’ If you want something out of life, get it yourself. We’re young and capable – if you want something go out and freakin’ get it. Stop talking about it and thinking about it. Go do it. Large, looming goals are much more attainable when you break them up into small bites (thus the elephant analogy).

Lastly, I’ve found that being thankful for the small steps, small victories, small moments, and ALL the lessons learned makes reaching goals, and life, a whole lot better. Sure, we all come home from work exhausted, frustrated, and feeling less than our best on occasion, but I’m thankful I have a job that challenges me, presents many learning opportunities, and has room for growth. Being truly thankful for the small opportunities and rough patches (because let’s be honest – we grow the most during the hard times) makes navigating grown up goals and the grown up world a heck of a lot better.

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