Month #1: Be Melinda Mae

Interactive Workshops New York is officially live! We’re now one month into this new venture and it’s been an amazing experience so far. We’re learning a lot as we cross new bridges and explore new territory. As such, Jonna and I have decided to share with you some of our experiences as we set up and launch this new venture here in America. Each week we’ll trade-off writing a blog post about a key learning or insight that we’ve gained. 

For this first post I’ve been reflecting on how far we’ve come in just four weeks. And for anyone that knows me (high achievement orientation), I have also been reflecting on how much more I want to accomplish. As I was getting ready this morning, I found myself reviewing my day and I realized I wanted to get done more than was realistically possible. Then I asked myself a question: you’ve consulted hundreds of senior leaders on how to approach a situation in which you feel you have more to do than you actually have time for. What have you advised them that you can apply to yourself?

I started running through all sorts of prioritization models such as the action/priority matrix, or big rocks, little rocks, pebbles. While helpful, these models just didn’t seem to solve my problem: I want to do it all and I want to do it all now. 

As I reflected on this deeper problem the answer presented itself not in the form of an MBA level strategy, but rather a Shel Silverstein poem. It’s called Melinda Mae and it comes from his iconic book “Where the Sidewalk Ends”:

Have you heard of tiny Melinda Mae,
Who ate a monstrous whale?
She thought she could,
She said she would,
So she started in right at the tail.

And everyone said, “You’re much too small,”
But that didn’t bother Melinda at all.
She took little bites and she chewed very slow,
Just like a good girl should…

…And in eighty-nine years she ate that whale
Because she said she would!

From this, I take away 5 main lessons: 

Have a goal

Set your sights high and challenge yourself to strive for what you really want. 

Break it into small, “bite size” pieces

Puns aside, break your big goal down into small micro goals that are manageable on an hourly, daily and/or weekly basis. 

Focus on your inputs and what you can control

Don’t let things that are truly out of your control detract you from channeling your energy into what you can actually control. 


Meaningful and important accomplishments take time, it’s okay that you are not where you want to be yet.  

Diligence and Discipline

Stick-to-itiveness and being disciplined will beat motivation or short bursts of high energy in the long run. 

So in short, this first month was all about being Melinda Mae. We have a big whale to eat, but it’s not all going to get done at once. We’re going to keep working on it one bite at a time.

And if you want to know how we can help you eat your own whale, (or if you want to help us eat this whale), let’s chat! I can be reached directly at or you can schedule a time directly on my calendar on Calendly.