Pink Elephants

Do Something Big with a Pink Elephant Challenge

In his brilliant book on creativity called Let the Elephants Run, musician and entrepreneur David Usher encourages readers to dream in “wild pink elephants.” If you dream in mere elephants, you’ll be lucky to get a donkey at the end of your creative process. And if you downsize your dreams further, you could end up with “the drawing of a small wet dog.”

Maybe you find wet dogs endearing, but that’s not the point. The message here is clear. When pink elephants are your starting point, you could end up with an elephant, and that’s HUGE! So dream big and find ways to make your wildest, pink elephant dreams happen.

Usher warns against downsizing dreams. Life compels us to shrink our ambitions every single day. There are family commitments, and work commitments, and everything-in-between commitments that keep pink elephants sidelined. But there will never be a perfect time, or a perfect place, to make big dreams happen—and pink elephants aren’t created overnight, anyway. The key is breaking down big dreams into smaller actions and going for it!

Here are four ideas for actively chasing your biggest ambitions:

1. Prioritize one pink elephant and park the rest: Dreamers rarely have one big idea. You probably have a bunch! Choose one ambitious dream to focus on and put the others on hold. The goal you choose now becomes the target for your Pink Elephant Challenge.

2. Take the first step: Stomp out self-doubt with one small step that moves you forward. Maybe it’s reaching out to someone who can help you draft a plan, or calling a babysitter to cover you for the times when you’ll pursue your project. 

3. Find a cheerleader: A cheerleader who will encourage you, but also respect the boundaries you set up together at the outset of your project, can help keep you motivated. If weekly check-ins are too much, change the plan. Make sure your adjustments support progress and not procrastination!4. Set realistic deadlines: Assign realistic deadlines for each step so your pink elephant gradually takes shape over time. Carve out smaller steps over a longer time if your initial steps become too hefty to conquer.

These ideas may sound straightforward, but they aren’t easy to implement. Demands don’t stop, time stampedes forward, and energy and attention are limited resources for everyone. Chasing pink elephants—and even the everyday stuff like work and chores—is especially tough for kids, teens, and adults with neurodevelopmental differences like ADHD, Autism, and Learning Disabilities.

Research shows that coaching can be a vital tool in accomplishing big dreams and smaller tasks. At Possibilities, our coaches have pursued their own pink elephants, and they help move clients forward, too. You don’t need a diagnosis to sign up for coaching. What you do need is a desire to make meaningful change happen. Maybe you need 6 sessions, maybe you need more. You and your coach will figure that out.

If you’re ready to stop downsizing dreams, please reach out to us. Coaching options are available for kids, teens, and adults—since the best pink elephant pursuits emerge and multiply at any age when life is devoted to creativity and new possibilities.

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