Eat that frog

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

― Mark Twain

What is your frog today?

As an entrepreneur, I often avoid the little nagging projects, emails, phone calls, tasks that I don’t want to do. I push them off. I procrastinate. I delay. For some reason, I justify in my mind that dealing with it later is better than getting it off my plate now. And I am not talking about my normal daily to-do lists. I am referring to that “other” list. You know the one. Its the list in your mind, you don’t want to write down because then it would be truer and more likely you have to tackle it. You know the list. It might look like:

  • Have a talk with your business associates about your frustration with the direction of the company.
  • Have a talk with your spouse or partner about their behavior or attitude.
  • Have a talk with your parents about how you will no longer be held to their standards.
  • Call that cousin you burned a bridge with and apologize.
  • Take your car to the auto repair and see why the engine light is on.
  • Make a plan to reduce your debt.
  • Admit you are in love with that person.
  • Be honest with yourself about your health.
  • Quit being mad at God.

That list.

In the summer of 2000, I was living in Olympic National Park at Lake Crescent Lodge. Katie and I saved our money to go whale watching. Now if you have never been there are 2 popular forms of whale watching in the Pacific Northwest.
1. Stand on a huge pontoon houseboat and sip wine and enjoy the whales.
2. Take a zodiac speedboat out to the pods of whales and see them up close.
We chose #2.

Unless you are US Special Forces or have been whale watching in Victoria BC you have probably never seen a Zodiac boat. Think of a medium-sized aluminum fishing boat with an inner tube around it. Like the whitewater raft kind. Then add 2 200-horsepower engines to the back. This thing was a rocket. You can go fast enough on your local ski boat with 1 200-horsepower engine to scare you. Try 2 engines.

Anyhow we all jumped aboard the board and the captain fired up the engines and we just moved forward maybe 2 inches and something was wrong. The engines were throwing hundreds of gallons of water up onto the dock behind us. We were stuck. He throttled a bit more. Tons of water, no movement. Whatever it is must be awesome holding back 400 total horsepower of an angry speedboat. Then the captain laughed and said, “Oops. Forgot to pull anchor.” And then he proceeded to lift up a 9-pound anchor small enough to put in a backpack. All of that boat’s power was being throttled, held back, paralyzed by a 9-pound anchor.

I was stunned.

How could something so small hold back something so powerful?

But isn’t that how life is. It’s those little things. Those things on the other list that sometimes hold us back.

Now I don’t mean to say that having a talk with your spouse or partner about their behavior or attitude is a little thing. But you are too scared to even put it on your to-do list. A sentence. But what would happen if you did? What if you identified those anchors in your life, or in Mark Twain’s words, those frogs, and you just dealt with them. What if you tackled one per week? My guess is that many of those things have been on your list for a long time. Like months. Maybe years. You have been dragging that emotional and mental anchor around too long. Cut the anchor or get it on board with your direction. Or if you like Mark’s style, just eat the damn frog.

What are your frogs or anchors? Feel free to write me back. I won’t share them with anyone. Identifying them may be good for you.