There was a guy who wanted to mow his lawn one afternoon but had lent his lawn mower to his neighbor. When he asked his neighbor for the lawn mower, the neighbor refused.
“Not until you give me back the five other things you’ve borrowed from me!” said the neighbor.
The guy went back to his house and gathered up the things he’d borrowed from his neighbor. As he did that, he realized he had a problem–he had lost the sweater his neighbor brought back from Tibet years before.
The sweater was made of Yak’s wool. So in the middle of the night, the guy found himself breaking in to a zoo, sneaking in to the yak pen and shaving a yak to the get the yak hair to weave yak yarn to make a yak-hair sweater so he could give it back to his neighbor, get his lawn mower back and mow his lawn.
What does yak shaving represent? The “fiddly” tasks we let get between us and our goal–the excuses we make or the steps we insist need to be taken in order to launch something perfectly.
The guy should have just bought a sweater, gotten his mower back and mowed his yard.
We spend time yak shaving instead of doing because yak shavings tasks are in our control. We let ourselves believe that in order to accomplish our dreams, everything needs to be perfect. We spend too much time perfecting, or heading to the zoo to shave a yak.
Yak shaving shields us from facing the things we fear. It prevents us from ever really creating, doing, putting our work out there. But we need to start. Do it. Any of it. Maybe it doesn’t have to be a big plunge. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to be something. Small bites. Small steps. One imperfect thing at a time.