“How do you eat an elephant?”

One bite at a time.

When there is a large project you need to tackle or goal to achieve, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and let it go. At our MNovation conference we had the honor of hearing from three people who had completed monumental tasks, whether it was building a charity from scratch (Jenni Lilledahl with Gilda’s Club Twin Cities), getting a stadium built (Bruce Lambrecht with Target Field), or finding a new way to tackle the aviation space (Pat Waddick of Cirrus Aircraft).

What can we learn from these three on being focused, driving results, and not burning out in the face of setbacks? Here are five key takeaways from their illuminating, inspiring panel at MNovation.

1. See the end before you begin.

“I describe building Gilda’s Club as learning to ride a bike while you’re building it, while the road is being paved in front of you and you’re blindfolded. But going into it you sort of have and idea of how it’s going to go, and you need to see the finish line with the idea that there’s going to be detours. You’are already at the finish line in your mind because you see the purpose and how important it is.” – Jenni Lilledahl

2. Plan for detours and setbacks.

“Sometimes you think you’re completely spent, you have nothing left, and there’s no more solutions, then something little comes along and you find that there’s another path over here, or I didn’t realize I could take a left there.” – Jenni Lilledahl

3. Reframe.

“I always try to take a negative and turn it into a positive. Make a list of the negative things on one side of a piece of paper, and work to turn them into positive statements, and eventually you’ll come to a tipping point from maybe we should do this to a sure thing.” – Bruce Lambrecht

4. Listen and Be Open to Ideas and Help.

“There are people that are naturally innovative people, but that’s not necessarily what you’re looking for. I find that there’s all sorts of different pieces of the puzzle in keeping an innovative culture alive, and sometimes it’s someone who works really well within themselves off in a corner. Those innovative nodes can be anywhere, and they multiply off of one another to create a culture of innovation.” –┬áPat Waddick

5. Celebrate and Promote Successes Along the Way.

“Part of our board meeting, everyone had to tell a story, one little thing that happened to move ourselves up the mountain, and it forced us to look down and say, ‘Look how far we’ve come’.” –┬áJenni Lilledahl

We are so grateful to have learned from these inspiring panelists, and wish them all the best in their missions. We are hopeful that you can take away the lessons they have taught us, and by following their lead, and changing your mindset, you’ll be able to tackle your own mountain, whatever it may be, and hopefully be a bit happier, both at work and in life.

View the whole panel here.