Mac Anderson’s book, You Can’t Send a Duck to Eagle School, quotes Brian Tracy’s book, Eat the Frog. They restate an old saying, If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is eat a live frog, then nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day!
They say that your “frog” is the most difficult thing on your to-do list, and you should “eat” that first. Many leaders find it difficult to look beyond their massive to-do lists to act strategically. So for them, strategic action is their “frog” that they should eat first.
The notion of first munching our long-term, strategic frogs flies in the face of common advice that says it’s a good idea to warm up with some easy-to-do stuff. That way you experience some quick success. Is jump-starting with quick results a good idea? Perhaps, with these cautions:
We can sap our energy. While plucking some of the “low-hanging fruit” is easier than tackling a more complicated task, it does take energy that may be better invested elsewhere.
We can become satisfied. It’s just too easy to feel like we’ve accomplished a couple of things and made progress, and then just kick back.
We still have the frog. Vital strategic tasks don’t go away. All we have done is delay the pain, and possibly even increased the amount and duration of the pain as well.
Watch the balance between momentum and drain. Some activities build toward strategic action and provide momentum. Others just take time and drain energy. Make conscious decisions about how you spend your time.
Strategic action takes deliberate, intentional discipline. Figure out the next step needed to make progress on your strategic “frog” and schedule it on your calendar. Strategic action will make a major impact on your ability to achieve your long-term goals and fulfill your mission.
So eat your frog now, before it hops away.
Note: No frogs were harmed in the writing of this blog post.
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