Bakersfield is a city in Southern California, near the southern end of the (drought stricken) San Joaquin Valley. I was there for a speaking engagement and was invited to dinner with a large group. I was fortunate to sit next to a gentleman that is a BIG time farmer and sits on the California Water Commission (I think that’s the name of it). I naively asked if the recent rains and significant snow pack was a welcome relief from the years-long drought. That question began a conversation that baffled and stunned me.

To make a long story longer, he told me a story about Smelt. Yes, that’s right – Smelt. Smelt are a family of small fish, they are on the endangered species list. These small, and I do mean small, fish are found in many places but are particularly found in the Sacramento (California) Delta which plays a large part in the transfer and provision of water to various places in California. The protection of this SMALL fish could potentially diminish, not only the use of the melt off, but could cause much of it to be wasted and sent out to the Pacific Ocean. I am NOT going to weigh in on the importance of this little fish to the eco system or get in the political fight over it (and it’s a HUGE fight). I left that fascinating discussion with the realization that a significant part of California is being threatened by this little fish. The price of produce, meat and other sustaining food sources will increase because the cost of water is and will continue to be out of reach for farmers causing them to produce less and charge more.
Here’s the question I challenge you to consider. How often do we lose sight of the big thing because we are so focused on the little things? How often do we find ourselves holding on to something that limits us? How often do we let the small things get in the way of big things. I know, I know, they feel like big things to us but if we allow ourselves the benefit of perspective and the bigger picture we would be able to solve problems quicker and with greater ease. Here are the questions that will help you focus on the big things:

1. What are the big things I want? i.e. improved relationship, better job, more money, peace of mind, improved health.
2. What are the small things that I am holding on to that I may need to let go of in order to get the big things? i.e. a grudge, an opinion, a way of doing something, an outdated belief, stubbornness, etc.
3. What is one thing that I can do right now?
4. Who do I know that can hold me accountable?