Is It A Big Fish or Little Fish?

How to put your problems in perspective.

JaneFlyFishI live in the beautiful Northwest where we enjoy some of the best fly fishing around.  One summer I took a river tour and dropped a fly into just about every river between the Snoqualmie in Washington and the Yellowstone in Colorado.  It was one of the most renewing two weeks of my life because fly fishing brings one into deep states of stillness and focus.  But this is not what this post is about.  It’s about sensing the size of the fish, and how that’s kind of like assessing problems.

As an angler it is not always obvious how big the fish is.  When it’s still underwater it feels like it’s really big, or at least bigger than it actually turns out to be once you’ve pulled it above the surface and can clearly see it.

Problems can be like that too.

When we can’t see them they seem much bigger than they actually are.  We imagine the problem is huge when they are under the surface in the dark not able to be clearly seen.   We may even fear a whale of an issue too big to handle with the equipment we have on hand.  We have to get it above the waterline so we can evaluate the magnitude of it.

Once the problem is surfaced, once we can clearly see it, it often shrinks in size and we can breathe a sigh of relief.  If you are hoping for an opportunity to show off, it might be a bit disappointing to see that your fish is really not as big as all that, didn’t warrant that much adrenalin when reeling it out of the water.

So, before getting too caught up in an intense worry about the size of your problem, wait to see it more clearly first.  You won’t know until you have reeled it in successfully and brought it to the surface.  You may find it’s even under the size limit, so you’ll just have throw it back until it’s big enough to keep!  So… is it a big fish or little fish?

About the Author:

Jane Hundley, Executive Coach, M.A. Industrial Organizational Psychology (I/O) & Development, President of Impact Management, Inc.

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