Before I make use of the below metaphor, I want to emphatically state frogs are great…
I like them…
And I mean no harm to them!
In fact, in my little example, I even made a way for this little guy to be just fine.
That said, I’m sure you’ve heard the way to boil a frog without him knowing it is to put him in a kettle of cold water and then turn on the heat to gradually bring water to a boil, rather than drop him in a hot kettle, otherwise he’ll jump right out.
This is a metaphor used to describe how gradual changes eventually become detrimental without us being aware it’s happening.
It’s a silent killer of projects or even business.
Do you know as entrepreneurs, even though we are in control of our own destiny, our own business, that same thing can still happen to us?
Not only that, we could truthfully claim we were busy getting things done, and we still got boiled.
Let me explain it this way and see if we can save a frog today.
Let’s pretend we put a little frog in a kettle of water, we’ll call him Mr. Greenskin. We put the kettle over the burner, but instead of us turning up the heat, we’re going to let Mr. Greenskin decide whether he gets boiled or whether he can swim in his indoor pool and enjoy himself.
The basic rule is this; if Mr. Greenskin keeps the water clean of leaves and pieces of hay, the burners will not come on.
But, if he lets leaves and pieces of hay float around, the burners will come on, and its frog legs for dinner, right?
So, in goes Mr. Greenskin. We place the kettle on the burner which is off, and there’s the little guy doing the frog stroke all around his little pool there.
So far so good, no leaves or sticks of hay, so Mr. Greenskin is cooling himself nicely.
Let’s say we toss a couple flies in the water.
Oh, look at that, Mr. Greenskin likes that. Now he’s got a pool-side buffet.
Let’s toss in a handful of more things. We’ve got a couple dozen leaves of various sorts, a couple sticks of hay, maybe fifteen flies, ten red ants, and we’ll toss in a mosquito or two for good measure. All the things our little green friend needs to clean up, but only certain things to keep from turning on the burner and boiling the water.
Our little green friend is having a great time at work. He’s downed a few flies and an ant, and is thinking of one of those mosquitos for dessert.
He starts to notice the water is getting a bit warm, so downs the last few insects, and he’s stuffed. He can’t even move anymore he worked so hard cleaning up the water.
Floating there, he notices bubbles in the water and he’s breaking a sweat.
Mr. Greenskin’s in deep trouble.
He was busy cleaning up the water the whole time he was in there, so what’s the problem?
The problem was he only did the fun stuff. He didn’t give a rip about no floating leaves or pieces of hay which were the more important things to get done. It was the insects he was interested in cleaning up, because they were fun tasks to do, tasty too I might add.
Let’s pause our little story here.
Is that something you find yourself doing in your business or even at home?
Do you make this big list of things to do and start picking away at the easy or fun stuff to do?
Maybe you had to do a little research on a project or idea. You love research, not to mention the YouTube rabbit trails, so you grabbed a bowl of snacks and camped out at your desk.
Could be you had to create a spreadsheet. Since you love doing spreadsheets, you bought some special coffee and brewed some up for your little project.
Perhaps you needed to clean up the office a bit before you tackled the rest of the list of items, so you put on a new CD you downloaded and shoved a headset on while cleaning.
Maybe for you doing research, creating spreadsheets, and cleaning your office are like our little green friend’s yummy fun to eat insects.
Maybe you skipped the calls you needed to make, bills you needed to pay, and appointment you needed to make with an unhappy client to try saving his patronage.
And here’s a back pocket kicker…
When you get all the easy stuff done and you think you are finally ready to dig into the harder stuff, the harder stuff will have gotten even harder to think of doing, and there will be a fresh batch of easy fun stuff tempting your attention. Before you know it though, you’ll be breaking into a sweat noticing there’s steam and bubbles in the water.
Look, as business owners, there is always something for us to do. Some of it more pleasurable to do than others, and some no fun at all. Some might take us well out of our comfort zone.
The point is to keep from boiling in your own water, prioritize the list and don’t cop out by going for the easy-peasy stuff.
You don’t want to look back and see you had been busy the whole time taking care of business items, but missed the things that kept everything in perspective and operational.
I’m all for making tough things fun to do, and even doing some of the more enjoyable parts of business after a rough day, but that doesn’t take away the fact the more challenging stuff needs to be done.
Often times, these are the backbones of your business and a bit of a personal challenge. Handle them and not only will your business do better, but you’ll gain a boatload of confidence having plowed through those items.
Next time you’re faced with challenges? They’ll seem a little more like the easy-peasy stuff and less of a challenge!
Happily Mr. Greenskin tossed out all those bits of leaves and hay at the last minute and he’s back to doing his little frog stroke around the pool.
Until next time…
Live like you’ll never get hurt, dream like nobody is watching, and above all… try-try-try until you succeed!