Debbie, Bec and I went out to eat with my brother Brian and his son Aaron this past weekend at a place none of had eaten at. It was a local bar and grill that we had heard good things about, but never went to. I ordered one of the specials off the blackboard, a jumbo eggplant parmesan hero. As we sat waiting for the food, the table next to us received their order, a couple of oversized cheese steaks and a very tall hamburger. Like a bunch of cartoon characters, we all did a group double-take and laughed at their portions, while they sat there in shock. Then, our food arrived and we were now the ones in shock and they were laughing at us. My “jumbo” sandwich was enough to feed a family of four. In my head, this was not “Man versus Food”, but “Wayne versus Food.”
Have you ever bit off more than you can chew? I do not necessarily mean directly to a gluttonous portion of food sitting on the table, but either taken on a task that was too large or taken on too many different tasks at the same time. Like the dinner before, it looks tasty, smells good and makes you feel like you are up for the challenge. I have worked with people, interviewed potential candidates and scoped out projects, where the person in front of me is excited about the opportunity before them. In the case of an interview, you can see what they have done in the past and compare it to what you expect them to be able to do to evaluate if they can handle the job. Yes, in some cases, you can spend the time to train them; while in some cases you do need the expertise and want them to hit the ground running. There are cases where the person wants to prove him or herself. As leaders / managers, we need to make sure that not only the projects succeed, but that the each person involved succeeds as well. Stretching one’s ability is important, when there is success, it brings with it the confidence and the desire to tackle newer, bigger solutions.
Look, sometimes, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Sometimes, we find that need a balance by taking on those challenges. Sometimes, we fail, which is OK, provided that we learn something from the experience and learn how to tackle the situation better the next time. Sometimes, we succeed beyond our own expectation.
My brother ordered the cheese steak. He cut off a section, about a quarter of the sandwich, and slowly ate that. He knew up front that he was going to take this home and enjoy it a few more times. In my mind, there was no way this meal was going to get the better of me. The hero and I had a staring contest, similar to two pugilists in the ring before a fight. The bell sounded (in my head) and I opened with a jab. Like a cartoon brawl, everyone at the table tried to see how the battle was raging and when the cloud dispersed, Wayne was victorious! My brother was in shock, my nephew was laughing at me and Debbie and Bec knew what they were in for later. Yes, I had done this “brave” thing before and overeaten, so a night of complain, unremitted moaning and bad sleep due to uncomfortable “bloating” was ahead. I smiled, for the moment. I had climbed the food version of Mount Everest, then “rolled” out of the building.