Set the Pace 04 How Do You Eat An Elephant

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

The answer to the old question “how do you eat an elephant” is one bite at a time. Which means some tasks are just big tasks and just take time. Building a church, setting up a new business, losing weight, changing the direction of a church. All of these tasks take time. But if your job is eating an elephant, then don’t just settle and decide “well, it has to take time” – maybe you can shave some seconds off the eating, and do it quicker.

  • Maybe you can persuade other people to help you eat it. However long it takes to eat an elephant, it will take less time if the eating task is shared. If you raise up other people to help, and build community, things will always take less time. It might be that there is someone around you that is an exceptionally fast eater and loves elephant! Give that task to them!
  • Maybe you can practise eating and become a quicker eater. Maybe you can learn some new skills and techniques that let you eat quicker. What can you learn about your task, who can you learn it from?
  • Maybe you can eat more than one part at a time! When we started Guildford as our second church, something amazing happened – we started learning how to pastor twice as fast as before! We had twice the problems, twice the situations, twice the pace! Everything doubled and it was a time of great acceleration for us – instead of there being a miracle in one church, we could have a miracle in two. Instead of dealing with some new guests, we had double the number of new guests. Now, we have a family of churches and they are all growing. We are learning so much. If we had waited to “finish” Dagenham, get a building, build a large team, have a million pound turnover before starting our second church, then we would still be moving at a slower pace there. If you are waiting for the test market and testing and learning for too long, other markets will get away from you. And what if you could learn from all the other markets.
  • Maybe you need to develop more discipline and eat when you don’t feel like eating. So many people just do what they feel like. You will not always feel like working, like serving others, like exercising. You will not always be motivated. You have to develop the character to do things out of a sense of discipline and routine, not out of motivation. While some people are hunting motivation, a disciplined person can change the world without feeling like it..
  • Work out what actions and times and styles are best for eating and get more ate! Have a sense of reflection about your pace-setting and running things, and work out what works best and do more of that. You should be measuring things and putting more energy, staff, effort and money into the things that work the best for you!
  • You are the leader, you should be the one deciding how long a task should take, and how fast it should be done. One of the main tasks of leadership is to set priorities. What things need to urgently be “eaten” and what things can be left to tomorrow, next week, next year – or indeed never have to be done. If your task is to eat an elephant, probably best not to have a cheeseburger and chips beforehand. Sometimes we cannot do the things we should be doing because we cannot stop doing things that just do not matter.
  • You need to be unafraid of failure. You have to develop a sense of persistence. You need to continually remind yourself of your dream and vision. You need to work on your team and make sure they can handle the pace. You need to inspire people to work together.

Do these things and you will win! You will complete every task, and it will be awesome!

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