Saturday, September 7, 2013


The thick, sinewy bite of elephant sticks in my throat.  I don’t recognize it, bathed in the juices of intense creative problem-solving.  Even the enthusiasm in which this particular elephant has been marinading hasn’t dissolved the cartilage.  My gag reflex cuts in, and I have to make a decision—spit or swallow.

The get’erdone dip that characterizes every project has arrived.  All I can think about is finishing and moving on.  I’ve arrived at the revision stage.  Pressure—a series of blunt comments, maybe, an inexorable deadline, or a curve ball—threatens to derail me.  I feel overwhelmed.  My heart pounds.  It is a precarious moment.  My decision here will not only colour my project; it will define me as a person. 

Option one is to spit the wad into a napkin.   I can opt for expediency.   Just delete the problem section and replace it with something simpler, faster.  Then, I compromise quality for speed, and the foundation of my high standards begins to crumble.   Like in Amazing Race Canada, I accept the penalty—two hours added to my time, not to mention the disappointment of surrender.

Or, I can swallow.  I can breathe, stay calm, accept the challenge, and work through potential solutions.  Tim Sr. from Amazing Race Canada does just that as he stares down a plate of muktuk in Iqualuit.   Resolute, he downs the ten pieces of whale blubber one at a time in minutes, and the team moves on.  No complaints.  No gags.  Just determination.  Get’erdone.

If I am to eat any more elephants, I must transform my get’erdone mindset from a negative to a positive.  After all, I know the moment is inevitable.  I know what to look for, and I can anticipate my reaction.    Thank you, Tim Sr., for the example of the efficacy of  a positive get’erdone mentality.  Carve through the unpleasantness.  Focus on the task.  Just do it. 


  1. A great despcription! I can relate to "compromising quality for speed"...
    I just started watching Amazing race last week and when the Tims came on I was surprised! I know them--their family babysat my girls when we were in wpg! It was fun to read about his inspiration here:)

  2. My son always says, six degrees of separation. This is another example. I just started watching a few weeks ago, when the race stopped in Regina. A great study in human behavior.

  3. I have always admired your determination for "getting it done" Not only do you get it done but done to the best of your ability.

  4. Thanks. There really is no alternative, is there?