I can only imagine how an aspiring climber feels when they face their first mountain. Or a novice runner having completed Couch to 5k deciding to train for a marathon. There will be times when they’re not feeling on full form, when people have told them that they could never summit Everest or cross the finishing line of a marathon.
In the shepherd’s life, when faced with a large flock of sheep to shear, there are several thoughts which go through my mind.
One of the first is, do I really need to do them now? Perhaps I could wait until another day? Are they too wet, too dirty, too hot or too cold? The list goes on. The thought that somebody else could do this job even creeps in!
Being a shepherd isn’t so different from climbing the corporate ladder or starting a business. You need to be focused, determined and consistent in order to move forward. Great climbers and long distance runners clearly ignore all the naysayers, not only externally but also those in the head too.
Before the day starts I can make any number of reasons why I should not do them. Once I’ve started, once I’m committed to shearing the flock, I have to finish. I might shear 200 sheep a day and having done the first one there’s only 199 left. And in the next 2 minutes there will be just 198.
Two minutes is not long and it is very easy not to use it to shear that sheep. So we set time limits to prevent two minutes becoming two-and-a-half or even three! Keeping a pace and rhythm is so important.
We also work in chunks of time, giving ourselves a break. Changing the scene helps relax the mind and the body – and of course we need to grab a drink or snack to revive energy levels.
Shearing a large flock of sheep, climbing a mountain, running a marathon or writing a report, ploughing through job applications or planning out a new project? Consistency in anything we do is vital to deliver results.
What helps you to get off the starting blocks? And how do you keep focused?
What initially daunting goal have you faced, and with vision, determination, focus and a strong team supporting you, have you achieved?