Updated: Aug 27, 2019
How does the installation of a microwave hood vent, on a steamy Sunday morning, in a small Midwest town, mimic life? I was in the office working early this morning when I heard banging coming from the kitchen. I may or may not have heard some verbal steam being let off. When no one screamed for a band aid or emergency services, I decided to continue working. About an hour later, I headed to fill up my coffee cup and found a dismantled range hood, an opened box from a new microwave range hood and a note, "I've gone to Ace Hardware, need a couple things."
Sigh...home improvement. A never ending trip to the hardware store to pick up a million things you either didn't know you needed or that you knew you needed, knew you had somewhere, gave up trying to find and decided it was a better idea to just buy a new one. (I have a whole drawer of allen wrenches, drill bits and super glue that developed because of this very reason!). Our hardware store guys know us by name. Today's adventure seemed simple. Remove hood vent...easy. Install new one...not so much. The one we removed was a direct wire. The one we replaced it with needed an outlet. Trip one...go buy an outlet. Next discovery? We needed to cut a hole in the cabinet to install the outlet. I don't own a saw. Back to the store. Next discovery? The grease from cooking wouldn't come off the cabinet. Yep...back to the store for a degreaser. One thing led to another and another and, still yet, another.
Isn't this just like life? One thing leads to another. You know how this goes...get new carpet, then the curtains have to be replaced, then the couch doesn't match so you need a new couch. Then the wall color is all wrong...then the wood in the kitchen looks tacky and before you know it, you have a home you don't even recognize! Or how about when you go out with friends and are determined to stick to your diet, but then someone orders potato skins. You limit yourself to one, but then someone else sends you a Cosmo, oh but wait, pizza is coming. One thing led to another that night and, before you knew it, you were knee deep in a monster ice cream sundae!
But, I have a thought. What if one thing leads to another to change your life for the good? Remember everything happens in little steps. Even the installation of a microwave hood. There were steps involved in that. Starting a new business? One step will lead to another. Creating a logo leads to the creation of a website, a website leads to the creation of social media accounts, and so on. Weight loss? Going to the gym leads to better food choices. Better food choices lead to increased energy. More energy leads to increased productivity.
When we look at life in this way. It makes big changes seem easier. In fact, if we look at our end goal, we can often design small steps that lead to big change. The benefit to this is small steps are achievable. I can manage the small steps that it took to install my microwave hood. But looking at that project as a whole was almost insurmountable!
Try this strategy...
1. Identify your end goal.
2. Identify 5 steps (in sequential order, if appropriate) that will get you to that end goal.
3. Identify 5 tasks for each step that will help you check that step off as done!
Do you see how an overwhelming task may become more achievable when we see that task as a group of sets and tasks? Try this the next time you are facing a challenge that feels overwhelming. Share your experiences with this strategy in the comments!
P.S. Back to microwave hood vent installation....