Quit Squirreling and Help Just One More
In the Pixar movie Up, a Golden Retriever named Dug has been fitted by his former master with a collar that allows us to hear all of Dug’s thoughts. Dug tries really hard to focus on what Russell (the Boy Scout) and Mr. Carl Fredricksen need from him, but he just can’t seem to keep himself from the distraction of wanting to chase squirrels. He’s a dog after all. In the middle of a discussion with one of the humans, Dug will snap his head to the side and say, “Squirrel.” It’s really funny.
I’ve used this line quite a bit since watching that movie several years ago. When I’m trying to get something explained and the kids suddenly start talking about something totally unrelated, I’ll say, “SQUIRREL! Pay attention.” Funny, not funny. Really! I think, “How can they be so silly as to not realize that they’re outing themselves and their lack of attention toward me?!”
But in all honesty, I do the same type of thing to myself far too often. I’ve done and still do my own share of squirreling. What does it mean that I squirrel from myself? It means I allow myself to get distracted in the midst of something I’ve determined is important. It’s often hard for me to keep my attention on a goal or a project or an idea when it seems that things are dragging on and making no headway.
I’ve snapped my head from one idea to the next thinking that next thing is the thing that’s meant for me. I’ve let myself squirrel away from doing things for fear that I wouldn’t be good at them. And I’ve let my insecurities tell me that I had to be perfect before I got started.
All that squirreling has kept me from hearing what I need to hear. I haven’t truly been listening to myself or, more importantly, to what God is placing in my heart. Just like my kids never really hear the advice or information that I’m imparting once they have allowed their minds to wander off to new subjects, I don’t hear what God has placed in my heart when I am so focused on me and what I need and want. I squirrel when things get hard. I squirrel when things take too long. I squirrel to save face.
So the question becomes, how do I stop the squirreling? How do I stop the thoughts that distract and take me off in pursuit of yet another squirrel? The answer is to focus on others and what I know that can serve them well. I need to become intent on delivering to others what I have been blessed to learn. I have to take seriously the truth that no one can have the unique impact that God has given me to have.
And in all seriousness, squirreling is simply the enemy’s way to keep me from positively impacting the next person. I need to focus on how I can impact one other person today with what I am blessed to work on right now.
I like the phrase Impact One. It encapsulates all the ideas I’ve been focused on these past few years. Life coaching and mindset work and communicating well and self-communication and thinking about audience and honoring others—they’re all meant to help me create a program that people can walk through to understand how to impact themselves and then Impact One More.
Stopping the squirreling is about discipline. It’s about making a decision to do one small discipline that helps to bring me one step closer to the person that I am becoming. I improve everything when I improve myself and then impact one more person.
It’s a hard start because it takes humility and honesty and some grit. When I stop squirreling, I get uncomfortable with what I learn about myself. But in that discomfort, I find the conviction to quit squirreling and help just one more.
#theimpactdirective – will you join me?
Connie Benoit Sirois
Consultant | Writer | Speaker