Today is World Elephant Day, glorious creatures that man has managed to exploit and drive towards extinction. In the last decade alone, elephant numbers have decreased by 62%, yet man continues to buy ivory, and poachers continue to kill an estimated 100 elephants each day, monstrous. Words can raise awareness; I am very happy to do that. If one individual stops buying ivory as a result of reading about the price paid by the elephants, that’s positive.
Image Credit: dailyrecord.co.uk
The Elephant in the Room
On a lighter note, I wanted to talk about… the elephant in the room. I love that phrase. It’s a metaphorical idiom (in case you hadn’t realised) which describes an obvious problem that everybody is choosing to ignore. If we all pretend it isn’t there, we can carry on as normal…or can we?
Have you ever been in a meeting that has skirted the issue? Or avoided the issue completely? It was just too challenging to deal with. How much progress was made? Did the ‘elephant’ leave as a result of being ignored? Therein lies the problem, the elephant is too large to leave, so there it stays. This phrase isn’t only relevant to work life, elephants that are ignored tend to increase in size until the room feels rather uncomfortable.
Image credit: New York cartoon print by J.B. Handelsman
Let’s Talk About Elephants
How difficult can it be? If you have an elephant in your room, at home or at work, try these steps:
- Write down a description of your elephant – What exactly is the issue?
- Write down why it is in the room – Why is nobody discussing it?
- Write down who else is in the room – Who else should be acknowledging the elephant?
- Write down some ways to introduce the elephant – An email, a letter, face-to-face discussion (preferred option) that brings the elephant right into conversation.
- Write down some solutions – Possible strategies to remove the elephant, these don’t have to be the whole fix but at least steps to acknowledge the issue and ways that everybody involved could help to deal with it.
- Now turn those steps in to action, it is easier than you have imagined.
The aim is to make the elephant small enough that it can at least fit through the exit.
Image credit: Cartoonist Dan Piraro
Enjoy World Elephant Day. What can you do to help? Find a petition to sign, donate a few pounds to a worthy cause, pledge never to buy ivory…acknowledge any elephants that are taking up space in your room.