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Aha! That's My Fourth Ring

We received an interesting insight from a reader:

I just read Juggling Elephants and love it! I understand about the three rings, but the other elephant that I juggle is the house. I have a full-time job that is overwhelming, and the other rings of relationship and self. Three rings might be enough for a man, but what about women - who have another ring - a whole job of taking care of a house and family when they get home?

Our response to her was to look again at the circus and determine what it would do with an extra ring. It would move resources from one or more of the other three rings to help manage the 4th ring. Remember, we can't do it all. We suggested she work with the other performers (spouse, children) to see if they would be willing to help better manage this 4th ring and possibly make it a higher priority in their lineup. Additional performers could be hired (to clean the house, etc.). Lastly, review all the acts in the lineup. Are there some that are more important right now and others that could be postponed or deleted from the lineup.


Steps To Stepping Up The Performance Of Your Performers

 I had to laugh. A business associate called and in the conversation he mentioned his frustration with one of his employees. When I asked him how long this had been going on, he said "three months." "Three months!" I replied. "Why have you waited so long to address the issue?" His reply was all too common... "I just didn't know what to do."

It can often seem overwhelming to map out a plan for improvement for an individual, but failure to do so not only affects their performance-it also affects YOURS. Sometimes a simple process to follow might get them on the road to a standing ovation and you can stop juggling THEIR elephants. Once you have determined the desired outcome you want to see in one of your performers, try these steps to make it happen:

  1. Figure out what motivates them. Determine some realistic and meaningful ways you can provide the motivators.
  2. Be the Ringmaster. Most people like to work with people who are goal-oriented and focused on achieving certain objectives. If they recognize that their performance is part of a bigger goal, they are more likely to go along with the plan. Share your strategic plans and objectives-often!Use small steps. Break the desired outcome down into smaller parts. Reward them when they achieve each step and encourage them to continue their growth (using some of the identified motivators from step 1).
  3. Keep the spotlight focused on the act. Determine possible distractions that could cause the performer to fail, and remove or minimize them when possible.
  4. Minimize their juggling elephants routine. Remember, they have other acts to perform besides the new ones you have for them.

Our Juggling Elephants programs include a section on improving the work of your performers. Click here to learn more.


Fight For The Time That Is Yours!

Bernie Garcia, an 83 year old great-grandmother, was in a tough situation. As she was buying gas for her vehicle, a man approached her and tried to grab her purse. She fought back, and was pulled to the ground and dragged a short distance by the man before another man confronted the would-be robber. The thief was soon caught by local police after he fled in his vehicle.

Ms. Garcia required no medical treatment. What really hit me about her story, however, is what she told her son after the attack. He asked, "Why didn't you just give (the purse) up?" Her reply was, "---- no, that was my purse. I was fighting for what was mine." In her situation, the best thing for her to do was probably give up the purse, but in the heat of the moment it's hard to make the logical choice.

What if you, however, took that same approach today with your time and energy. Don't let unnecessary or frivolous acts in your lineup "steal" your resources, making you unable to accomplish what is most important to you. Remember... you are fighting for something that means more to you than anyone else.


To learn more how a Juggling Elephants program could help your people better "fight" for their time, click here.


After The Elephants Have Fallen On You

While cleaning off one of my desks I found an insightful article on beating stress from an old Reader's Digest. It's a good prescription for beginning the healing process after an elephant you were attempting to juggle has fallen on you. The list also gets you started on preventing them from falling on you again. They include:

  • Make time for yourself. Reserve part of a day each week for just you.
  • Develop a method to calm yourself. Meditate, breathe deeply or just closing your eyes for a few moments ( I have a special folder of music on my mp3 player for just such occasions).
  • Analyze what you love and hate about your work. Plan strategies to take care of the items you hate and celebrate what you love.
  • Settle for less than perfect. Set boundaries on work or other overwhelming tasks.
  • Take good care of yourself. You know what it means... eat healthy, exercise, sleep well, etc.
  • Cultivate a support network.
  • Set limits. Take time before saying yes to a new commitment-you will find that your responses are much more logical and less emotional.
  • Plan for the future. Take small steps to making things better professionally or personal

To reduce the likelihood that another elephant will soon fall on the people in your organization, click here.


Two Acts In The Same Ring At The Same Time

It's happened at least two times in the past month. I return a call to someone and before I even get to hello, they abruptly say, "I can't talk right now. I'm in a meeting." The visual I get is hilarious. First, the person answering their phone while in a meeting has just disrupted the flow of the meeting-or at least distracted the individuals around them. Secondly, they have just created a less than professional situation between themselves and the person calling. I also see this same behavior while conducting some presentations.

In an actual circus you can imagine how confusing it would be if, while an act was being performed, another act barged into the same ring. No one is pleased with the chaos or confusion created by the incident.

I know there are cases of personal emergency where one needs to be readily available, but that's the purpose of Caller ID. If it's important, step out of the room. Ultimately, for the benefit of those in the meeting and as a courtesy to the person calling, maybe it's best to wait until the current act is finished before tryng to start another one in the same ring.


Why not schedule a Juggling Elephants program for the people in your organization so they can see the fallacy of trying to get it all done? Click here to learn more.