During my senior year at Georgetown, I was constantly feeling overwhelmed. Scratch that. I felt defeated. There was homework (and lots of homework). And group projects (many, many group projects). And looming graduation and unemployment. And one thousand and one meetings in the city. And yeah, well that was a lot.
One of my friends (who received the grunt of my exhaustion) would Skype with me every night. Just as I was near hysteric tears, he would ask me… “Carly, how do you eat an elephant?” It started to really annoy me every time he asked me that dumb question.
But he was right.
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
An elephant might seem impossible to eat (okay, gross… no one actually eats elephants), but when you take it one step (errr bite) at a time, you can. Seemingly impossible tasks become doable when they’re broken up into small, measurable, and purposeful tasks.
Remember how I mentioned that our trip to Nantucket took 26 hours? Well it really was complicated trying to figure out the logistics once Plan A didn’t work.
Here’s what ultimately happened:
We flew all the way to Nantucket, circled around the island for a bit, and then had to fly back to the city because we couldn’t land due to too much fog.
No big deal, let’s get on the next flight to Nantucket. But then there were no seats on flights to Nantucket until Tuesday. So we weighed our options and decided to get to Boston, where Emily’s family lives. But we couldn’t get on the earlier flight so we were on a 9something flight. Which really didn’t leave until after midnight. (Oh, and Emily’s mom was waiting at the airport and we still hadn’t taken off.) So we finally get to Boston and literally have no idea what to do next. So we book a hotel. (Hotel Tonight is a lifesaver.) We try to figure out how to get from the hotel to Hyannis to take the ferry.
Ultimately, there was a shuttle to the airport, a bus to Hyannis, a shuttle to the ferry, and the ferry to the island.
When we were standing in the airport in NYC without a plan, getting to Nantucket seemed impossible. But we took it one step at a time.
It was definitely a little frustrating at times, but we were all in good spirits and it was kind of fun not really knowing what to do next. (But actually, it was like a weird adventure from a movie.) Plus we had iPhones. Yay for smartphone technology 😉
The best part? Once we got some iced coffee and changed into our bathing suits, it felt like we hadn’t just spent 26 hours traveling at all.
Next time you have something that is so big it seems quite impossible… ask yourself, “How do you eat an elephant?”
When was the last time something seemed impossibly difficult? How did you handle it?
PS I repeat this in my head a lot, but I also repeat “This too shall pass”! Both are great for trying to get through frustrating scenarios.