Greg King

Five Stones

Juggling Elephants

istock_000005330534smallOccasionally, a book comes along that presents leadership concepts in a new and exciting way. That’s exactly what these authors have done. I was hooked from the introduction and didn’t quit reading until I finished the last sentence. The book I’m talking about is  Juggling Elephants: An Easier Way to Get Your Most Important Things Done-Now by Jones Loflin and Todd Musig. The tension the book creates is, “What do you do when your life feels like a three ring circus?” The authors do a great job of taking some key leadership thoughts and placing them into a memorable story.

Each year I always try to pause and take a hard 360 look of my life the past year. I think its fair to say that my life this past year has been a circus at times. I have struggled to balance my many responsibilities of husband,minister, Dad, boss, and friend while trying not to crack under the pressure. One of my biggest flaws I have is that I’m always trying to get everything done. You learn very quickly from the book that trying to get everything done is like juggling elephants…impossible. The premise of the book is for you to look  at your life the way in which a ringmaster looks at the many acts in his three ring circus.

The three rings in my circus consist of my professional ring, relationship ring,  and my self ring. The fact is the ringmaster cannot be in all three rings at once. When I read that line I realized this book had great potential to help me implement some changes I need to make for the new year. So many times this year I would be in my relationship circle with my kids and wife and would be mentally checked out because I was thinking about what I needed to do at church. Below are some of the key talking points you can find on the books website:

The result of trying to juggle elephants is that no one, including you, is thrilled with your performance.

The ringmaster cannot be in all three rings at once.

The key to the success of the circus is having quality acts in all three rings.

There is no shortage of acts for the circus.

The relationship between the ringmaster and the performers affects the quality of the circus.

Intermission is an essential part of creating a better circus performance.

Your circus is only as good as your last performance.

I will be posting on some of the things that I want to see happen in my three circles over the next month. If you are looking for a book to help you manage your personal circus and can handle one more book using a story to tell a story then I would highly recommend this book. I actually just finished my second reading on it last night. Can you tell I need to make some changes in my circus?


December 29, 2008 - Posted by | Leadership, Life

1 Comment »

  1. Pastor Greg, Juggling Elephants? Yes, the roles I have myself in (wife, mother, teacher, mentor, sister, friend) do feel like elephants when I am trying to do the juggling.
    But am I to juggle? I can’t juggle. I’ve tried and tried. But in my failed attempts, I am beginning to realize that I am not suppose to juggle. I only have to make sure I’m where the Master is sending me.
    How? Your first essay shows the way. When I put spending quality time with the Master as my first priority – hen, He will guide me to the ring where He wants me. There I can be at ease, knowing He has the other rings covered.
    When I don’t put time with Him first, when I don’t go to Him early in the morning and ask for directions, but rather jump right into juggling, all the balls drop. Like this Christmas… it was an emotional disaster, a spiritual disaster. Why? I was juggling – trying to be all to all and no one felt loved. Poor performance!
    Can I do this all the time? Yes, but I don’t. The goal – from out of being with the Master, may He mold me to be what He needs me to be in the rings He has called me to.
    No juggling… I can’t juggle. I drop the balls and no one feels His love.

    Comment by Bettie Green | January 10, 2009 | Reply

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