The Earnest Elephant Fable

The Earnest Elephant Fable

A story about the value of pushing for what you want until you get it.

Ethan Elephant was just a child, as far as elephants go, but he was learning important elephant skills each day. Then, one day, he realized that all his cousins seemed to know things that he didn’t!

Would he be ostracized by his friends? Would they think of him as a baby? What could he do?

Short Story:

The elephant wildlands were always buzzing with activity, especially on bright, sunny days. Little Ethan and his elephant cousins would spend their afternoons playing in the fields until they were exhausted and thirsty.

As young elephants, they didn’t yet know how to siphon water with their trunks, so they always crouched down to the river and drank directly with their mouths.

One day, Ethan noticed that his cousins started squirting water into their mouths and he thought, “Awesome! I must be able to do that too!”

But when Ethan tried to do it, it wasn’t working out like it did for his cousins. Although he was a little disappointed, he spent the next few hours by the river trying to do it.

That’s when his mom yelled, “Ethan, time to come in for dinner!” But Ethan wasn’t ready. He was committed to learning how to drink like his cousins and said, “Not now, mom. I have to figure this out today!”

Sensing her son’s determination, she said, “Okay, let’s make a deal. If you agree to pick twigs and leaves for your little sister, I’ll give you two extra hours each day to practice.”

Ethan only liked grazing for himself but was willing to help his mom take care of his little sister. And with that extra time each day, he finally learned how to siphon and squirt water into his mouth.

The added bonus of Ethan’s determination was becoming seasoned at taking care of others. He felt so proud that he mastered two new skills by sticking to his original goal.

Moral: Perseverance often leads to unexpected wins.

Self-Reflection Questions:

Ethan was a pretty self-confident little elephant, but he lost a little of that confidence when he saw his cousins doing something he was unable to do. Still, he blocked negative self-talk and focused on working towards achieving it.

Instead of choosing to give up, Ethan showed strong conviction in his ability to conquer a challenge.

Many times, the feelings that you allow to take over gain control of the outcomes of the situations you encounter. By choosing to maintain positive thinking, you realize that the answers to each challenge you face become more and more apparent.

Developing one skill also expands your aptitude for everything else. You can achieve more goals by learning skills that are useful in other areas.

So, when one approach seems like it’s unable to provide the outcome you seek, be open to other options. Your persistence will pay off in the end. Not only will you achieve that goal but becoming proficient in one area will boost your self-confidence and propel you to success in other areas as well.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1.  Which of my goals am I most passionate about? How can I persevere to achieve this goal?

2.  What are some encouraging things I tell myself when I feel like giving up?

3.  What are some additional achievements under my belt as a result of persevering?

 

The Circle of Life

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The Pursuit Of Happiness

The Pursuit Of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness  A story about a small pup with big dreams

Chester the pup goes after his dreams and fulfills his destiny despite the doubters

Short Story

Chester was a tiny little Chihuahua. He was excited to start pup school, but he was also nervous because he had no idea what trade he wanted to pursue. 

After months of waiting, he finally realized he wanted to be a guard dog.

Chester’s mom had given him all of the time in the world to choose what trade he wanted to learn. But her patience was wearing thin.

“Chester, have you decided what you want to do with your life? All of your brothers and sisters have already gone off to pup school and graduated. Why are you taking so long to blossom?” asked his mother.

“Mom, I want to be a guard dog,” Chester blurted out.

“Honey, you’re so small. You can’t be a guard dog; you’ll get eaten alive.” remarked Chester’s mother.

This lit a fire under Chester. He was determined to pursue his road to happiness, no matter how long and hard the journey may be. “Mom, I’ve made up my mind. I am going to be a guard dog,” said Chester before he skipped away.

The very next morning, he enrolled in pup school as a guard dog. His classmates were German Shepherds, Pit Bulls and only the toughest dogs. But Chester felt confident in his ability to succeed.

When he got home from school, Chester would exercise to build up his strength. It was tough, but he stuck to his guns. He knew he could do it.

At his final examination, he had to run an obstacle course in under 45 seconds. And, because of his hard work and small size, he was able to complete the obstacle course in 20 seconds!

Against all odds, Chester became a guard dog.

MORAL:  Chase your dreams, regardless of how unlikely success may seem.

Personal reflection

Initially, Chester’s fear of failure kept him from pursuing his dream of being a guard dog. And, when he finally worked up the courage to follow his passion, he was criticized. Nonetheless, Chester stuck to his guns and achieved exactly what he set out to do.

He pursued his happiness and won.

Surely, you’ve encountered a situation where your lack of confidence has stopped you from chasing something you know you would love to do. However, if you don’t even try, you’ve already lost the battle.

Maybe you couldn’t give that executive your elevator pitch because you thought he wouldn’t spare a second to talk to you. Or you may have even opted for a “safe” college major rather than what you truly love to do.

It’s important to remember that every day is an opportunity to succeed. And pursuing your happiness can effectively be done just one step at a time. 

If you want to be a doctor someday, the first step is showing up to class. If you want to work as a bridal consultant, the first step is handing out resumes. And if you want to start a family, the first step is trying to conceive with your spouse.

Once you take the first step, the ones that follow seem to fall into place!

Self-Reflection Questions:

1.  Do I have the confidence to chase my dreams?

2.  Have I sat down to truly define what my dreams are?

3.  What is my day-by-day game plan in order to ensure my success?

 

The Circle of Life

Reveal the “big picture” of your true dreams – and pave the road for a real, personalized action plan

I am a Board Certified Life Coach, a Board Certified Health Coach,  and a teacher of Mindfulness Living who helps people unlock their potential and live life on Purpose

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The New Job

The New Job

The New Job  the story of a ‘people pleaser’ who pleased no one.
Sarah was new in town and went out of her way to help others.  Unfortunately, Sarah took on more than she could do…

Short story.

Sarah was on top of the world! She had recently graduated from college and landed a great job with an exciting company.

Even though her new job was in a city far away from her family and friends, she thought, “No problem. I’ll make new friends at work!” She was really looking forward to her first day on the job. It all started very well.

Everyone at the office was friendly. During the first week or two, almost everyone came by her desk to introduce themselves. Sarah was very happy to meet them and eager to please.  Nearly every day, at least one of the nice people Sarah had met would call or e-mail her, asking if she would help them out with a little project – reorganizing files, stuffing envelopes, or other small things.

Hoping to make friends, Sarah always said, “Yes.”  The projects started building up. Sarah took longer and longer to complete them until she just had too many to keep track of. Every day a couple of people would call her to check on their delayed projects. They always spoke angrily and were very upset with Sarah for being late. 

She wasn’t making any friends at all! In fact, now no one seemed to like her! Sarah wondered how this could have happened – she had tried so hard to make everyone happy.

MORAL:  Take on only what you know you can do. Say “no” when you should.

Personal reflection.

Oh, the people pleasers! We all know leaders and followers alike who try so hard to make everyone happy that they can’t satisfy anyone!

Are you one of those people who say “yes” to everyone? Do you feel that saying “yes” will bring you friends? If these thoughts ring true, reflect on this story carefully. It may help you pinpoint the basis of some frustrations in your life.

No one can do everything. Trying to be everything to everyone is a sure way to please no one and disappoint everyone, including yourself.

By saying “yes” to everyone, Sarah was was unable to focus on her own job, and she created an expectation of failure and unreliability among her coworkers. Not the way to make a great first impression!

There are respectful and thoughtful ways to say “no.” Learning those techniques and when to use them are important life skills.

Each of us has limits on our time and abilities. Knowing those limits is not a sign of weakness; instead, it signals great self-awareness and understanding.

If you really want to make friends and become a valuable member of a community, Sarah’s situation can remind you about what’s important in building relationships.

You may have to say “no” from time to time so when you say “yes,” you really mean it. 

Being reliable and trustworthy will earn you the respect and admiration of those around you. Plus, you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment and worth.

Isn’t that what we all want from our relationships – trust, meeting expectations, a sense of accomplishment, and mutual respect? Knowing what you can and can’t do, and making those expectations clear, are important steps toward establishing healthy and comfortable relationships.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1.  Am I constantly overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do?

2.  Do I find myself agreeing to do “just one more project” when inside I’m really saying, “No! I can’t!”

3.  Have I ever been told that I need to learn to say “no”?

 

The Circle of Life

Reveal the “big picture” of your true dreams – and pave the road for a real, personalized action plan

I am a Board Certified Life Coach, a Board Certified Health Coach,  and a teacher of Mindfulness Living who helps people unlock their potential and live life on Purpose

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Forever Friends  A story of self-determination and a lost friendship

Forever Friends A story of self-determination and a lost friendship

Forever Friends:  A story of self-determination and a lost friendship

 Emily refused to let Ella make her own decisions… 

..And it cost them both the friendship.

 

 Short Story:

 

Ella the Elephant fell in love with Mason the monkey. She knew it was an unconventional union. But she was beaming because they were so madly in love. 

 

Ella was absolutely over the moon due to her newfound love. So, of course, she had to tell her best friend, Emily! 

 

While the two ladies were bathing in the sun, Ella found it difficult to contain her excitement and exclaimed, “I’m in love with Mason!” 

 

Immediately, Emily stood up and screamed, “What? Mason? He’s a monkey; you can’t love a monkey! I don’t think this is a good idea.” 

 

Ella was incredibly offended. Trying to remain polite, she sheepishly replied, “Emily, I know we’re best friends. But I feel it’s out of line for you to say something like that to me.” 

 

At this point, Emily was flailing around in a frantic rage, “Out of line? You’re  my best friend. This monkey is bad news. This love is unacceptable to our kind!” 

 

Ella was growing tired of Emily’s judgmental behavior. 

 

Before she could say anything, Emily walked up to her and dramatically demanded, “Well, if you’re going to be with him, I refuse to be your best friend. I will not tarnish my name by associating with a monkey lover. It’s either him or me!” 

 

Ella was at a loss for words and too shocked to give a reaction. She simply got up and gave Emily a shameful gaze as she walked away. 

 

 

 

MORAL:  If you love your friend, accept them for who they are, even if you disagree with some of their decisions.

 

 

 

Personal reflection.

 

Emily felt a sense of entitlement. She felt she had the right to dictate Ella’s decisions simply because she was her best friend. But Ella effectively reminded her that she is free to live her own life as she sees best. 

 

It’s tough to know how far to take your concern when dealing with close friends. 

 

You may feel like you have to be the guard dog of your loved ones. But your vow to keep them safe can be misconstrued as obsessive and controlling behavior. 

 

If you have nothing nice to say, it’s best to say nothing at all. 

 

No matter how loud you scream or how hard you stomp in order to get your way, you are in no position to be the authority figure in your friend’s life. 

 

It’s vital to maintaining healthy friendships that you know where to draw the line between concern and judgment. 

 

Once you learn to express your concern while keeping a mindset that your advice may go unused, your friendships will strengthen tenfold.

 

Self-Reflection Questions:

 

  1. Do I expect my friends to follow my lead in all situations?
  2. How can I tactfully express my concern without sounding demanding?
  3. Do I express possessive behavior over my loved ones?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Circle of Life

Reveal the “big picture” of your true dreams – and pave the road for a real, personalized action plan

I am a Board Certified Life Coach, a Board Certified Health Coach,  and a teacher of Mindfulness Living who helps people unlock their potential and live life on Purpose

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The Party The story of a conflict resolution gone good.

The Party The story of a conflict resolution gone good.

The Party The story of a conflict resolution gone good.

Bill and Jane had competing priorities. 

For one to be happy, the other would have to give-in, but there had to be another way…

The Story

Bill and Jane were having an argument while waiting for their mom to come back from the store.

Bill wanted to go eat. He had been playing soccer all afternoon and was hungry. Jane was dying to go to the beach. She had a new swimsuit she wanted to try out.

“I want to go swimming,” Jane said. “This is the first day all week that the weather has been nice.”

“But I’m starving! Can’t we go to the beach later?”

“No way! We only have a couple of hours till the sun sets!” Jane exclaimed, hoping to get a bit of a tan before the day was over.

They went on arguing like this until their mom came in carrying several grocery bags.

“Hey guys!” she said. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m starving!” Bill said loudly. “But she’s trying to drag me to the beach!”

“We can go eat later!” retorted Jane. “It’s a great day for swimming!”

“Wait a second,” their mother replied. “You can do both! Our neighbors are having a pool party today, and there’ll be plenty of food. They’re new in town and would love to meet you two.”

Bill and Jane loved the idea! Thanks to their mom, they both got what they wanted.

 

Personal Reflection.

Who says you can’t get what you want? When resolving conflicts, a good solution doesn’t have to mean that no one gets exactly what they asked for.

It may simply be that the ultimate solution is hidden at first. But once everyone brings out their ideas, you may discover the perfect solution for all.

No one person has all the facts. Collaboration brings together the best ideas from everyone, and then creates a synergy that may produce an even better idea than anyone imagined.

Bill and Jane were limited by what they knew. As they saw it, they had only two options, and clearly either option required the sacrifice of one of the parties involved. There was no way for both of them to be happy with the solution. Or so they thought! 

When they added their mom to the equation, she brought not only another point of view, but also additional knowledge. Because she knew something they didn’t, she was able to propose a solution that worked for everyone.

Bill and Jane could never have come up with the perfect solution on their own because they were too stubborn with their demands.

Do we ever get so attached to our ideas that we don’t allow others to come in and address an issue in a new way?

 The medical profession, schools and courts have all found that, by bringing in people with a variety of knowledge and ideas, they create collaborations that produce solutions that work.

 Their resulting solution would never have been dreamed up by any single individual. It often takes group collaboration and all the expertise to think in new ways and chart a new course.

 Be willing to collaborate and you may find that the best solutions are in the group, not in yourself.

 

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1.  Am I open to learning from others?
  2. When others have ideas, do I listen and see what I can add to them?
  3. Is there an area in my life where collaborating with others may help me find a better solution?

 

 

The Circle of Life

Reveal the “big picture” of your true dreams – and pave the road for a real, personalized action plan

I am a Board Certified Life Coach, a Board Certified Health Coach,  and a teacher of Mindfulness Living who helps people unlock their potential and live life on Purpose

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In The Dark

In The Dark

In The Dark

The story of a man who only saw darkness

The moment Gary tippy-toed outside of his home, he just knew it was going to be a terrible day.  But Gary found out something surprising and rather embarrassing…

Gary stepped outside and knew at once that it was going to be one of those terrible days.  Everything was dark and gloomy, like a thunderstorm was only moments away. But it was strange – the weather reporter had said the day would be sunny.  

Gary continued on to his favorite coffee shop.  Inside the coffee shop, the lights were dim, as if some bulbs had burned out.  He thought, “What kind of lousy restaurant doesn’t change the light bulbs when they go out?”   

Gary sat down and looked at the menu, but the dim lighting was making him more and more depressed.  When the waitress came by to take his order, Gary ordered his food, but he stopped her as she started walking back to the kitchen.

“Why don’t you guys fix some of these light bulbs? It’s so dark in here.  Do you think your customers like to eat in the dark?” Gary, whose mood had gotten progressively worse since he left the house, spoke angrily and a little too loudly.

“But sir,” the waitress said, looking confused, “No bulbs are burned out here.  You’re wearing sunglasses.”

Gary pulled his glasses off.  It was true! He had grabbed the wrong pair of glasses out of his dresser drawer.   He apologized to her and made sure to leave a big tip.

MORAL:  When searching for the source of your unhappiness, look first to yourself.

What an eye opener! Isn’t it true that the fault we find in the world around us can often be traced back to what’s inside ourselves? It’s so easy to project our problems onto others when taking ownership of the issues would actually help us solve them much more quickly.

How often do we try to make a spouse or a roommate change behaviors, to no avail? We all know we can’t change others! We can encourage and persuade, but we can’t make people do anything we wish.

Knowing this truth, we ought to be able to see how counterproductive it is to get irritated by things going on around us. We automatically think those problems are someone else’s responsibility when we already have the power to stop the irritation!

Just like Gary in the story, when we think problems belong to someone else, we spend a lot of time grumbling and complaining that those people won’t fix their issues. We go around in a rotten mood and make things miserable for those around us.

Now contrast that unhappy picture with someone who takes responsibility for his own unhappiness. “Am I a part of the problem or the solution?” a wise person might ask. When things aren’t going well, the key is to stop and think about your attitudes and actions.

Blaming others keeps us from finding solutions to the root cause of the issue. Taking responsibility and examining our weaknesses, mistakes or contributions to the problem allow us to take positive action toward improvements.

Self-reflection lets us take off the sunglasses and put on the clear lenses. Maybe there are still a few bulbs in the restaurant that need to be changed, but at that point, we’ve done everything we can to improve the situation on our own.

Sometimes we can do a whole lot to improve a situation, and sometimes not so much. But taking ownership and moving forward always makes us happier than blaming others and waiting for them to change. Blaming others is automatically a recipe for frustration!

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Are there issues in my life where I’m blaming others for things not going well?
  2. What am I doing that may be contributing to the problem?
  3. Is my perspective causing my own unhappiness?

 

The Circle of Life

Reveal the “big picture” of your true dreams – and pave the road for a real, personalized action plan

I am a Board Certified Life Coach, a Board Certified Health Coach,  and a teacher of Mindfulness Living who helps people unlock their potential and live life on Purpose

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