There’s an old joke that goes like this: How do you catch an elephant? You’ll need a pair of binoculars, some tweezers, and a milk bottle (shows how old this joke is that it contains a milk bottle). Hide in the bushes and wait for an elephant to come by. Look at the elephant through the wrong end of the binoculars. He’ll be soooo tiny. Use your tweezers and pick him up and drop him into the milk bottle and put on the cap. That’s how you catch an elephant.

Why have I been thinking of this old, old joke? As I work with clients, some situations loom so large they seem unsolvable. They are elephant sized. I once worked with a college department chair who had a tenured professor who was making his life miserable. This tenured professor would try to turn others against the department chair, undermine every decision, be combative in meetings and there was nothing the department chair could do – he thought. Once we metaphorically turned his binoculars around, he could put the troublesome professor in his proper perspective. With the elephant shrunk down in size, the department chair realized that the rest of the department liked and respected him and were hoping the troublesome professor would go away.

With this new perspective, the department chair and the rest of his department were able to keep the problem professor in proper perspective. Once they started ignoring him and not giving him an audience, his influence shrunk.

Do you have any “elephants” that you need to turn your binoculars around for?


“Life is about perspective and how you look at something… ultimately, you have to zoom out.”

Whitney Wolfe Herd