Seriously! If you had to eat an elephant, how do you do it?

The answer: In my case, with a lot of kimchi!!!! We Koreans must have kimchi with everything!

Ok, all jokes aside. This was a question which my Father would ask me whenever I felt overwhelmed about anything. Growing up it was school. As an adult, at this point in my life, it’s still school (finishing up my MBA), husband, kids, volunteer work, housework (soul sucking laundry), and just life. So Daddy would ask me this crazy question and the first time he asked me I seriously thought he was a bit nuts, but I answered with an “I don’t know!” His response would be, “one bite at a time.” The teenage Carolyn always rolled her eyes, but the adult Carolyn gets irritated, thinks about the heartburn this “elephant” is giving her, and gets the fork and kimchi ready. You see life can be so overwhelming at times. I’ve had moments where I just sat there and did nothing because I was burnt out and overwhelmed. Honestly, today has been one of those days. I’m not complaining, but this is just an small example:

  • I started my day later than expected. Like I had 20 min to get 3 people ready.
  • I swear the listening fairy came last night and took the listening skills from my girls because the pure disrespect two toddlers could ever show by ignoring their mother was shown today.
  • Whatever virus I had this past week has turned into a sinus infection.
  • The sheer amount of laundry which has piled up, not because I don’t do laundry, but because the laundry basket is a black hole, is RIDICULOUS!!! I’m serious about it being soul sucking.

These were just minor things but they were the few last straws which broke my back. Come to find out this Mama just needed a good cry, a nap, and a break from the tiny humans. So life is better in the Lee household again and I haven’t sold any of them on Etsy yet.

I’m writing this to say that life can seem overwhelming. It may seem like a never-ending day with never-ending tasks or somebody always wanting something from you. I’m here to tell you to take a step back, breathe, and then start eating that elephant one bite at a time. It doesn’t matter when you start. What matters is that you start. I am not perfect. Nor do I portray myself to be. What I am is resilient. I get overwhelmed, I fall, but I get right back up again! Another quote my Father used to say was, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Norman Vincent Peale. I try to set goals each day. As long as I get one or two of them done I’m happy and that elephant gets smaller and smaller. So how do you eat an elephant?


3 thoughts on “How Do You Eat An Elephant?

  1. Carolyn, I love this post! I often recite this elephant-eating metaphor to myself when I get overwhelmed! Another one I tend to keep in the back of my mind is the idiom – She puts her pants on one leg at a time. It is, however, more applicable to comparing one’s self to an idol or hero figure. It reminds me that we are all human, and with enough aspiration and dedication, we are capable of anything.

    Thank you for your blog post!



    1. Hi Maggie! Thanks so much for your comment! Yes, that is a great idiom as well! I would call myself an introvert. I’m really shy and it takes me awhile to warm up to people, but in my former life I had to brief pilots, Navy pilots. So I would tell myself that they put on their pants one leg at a time just like I do and that fear just kind of went away. :o)


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