Slay the Pandas in Your Life

In my book Water The Bamboo®: Unleashing Teams and Individuals I encourage both individuals and teams to identify and water their bamboo (vision). It takes four to five years of watering for Giant Timber Bamboo to grow over 90 feet in 60 days.


A "panda" is the biggest danger to your bamboo (vision). You might consider pandas to be harmless but they can be a huge threat to your bamboo. In fact, an adult panda will eat up to 30-40 pounds of bamboo in a single day! When I talk about pandas, of course I’m not referring to the cuddly black and white creatures most people adore. In this context, a panda is anything that can distract you from nurturing your vision into fruition.

Slay these 7 "pandas" and your success is almost guaranteed:

1. Fear

Fear is the single biggest reason people don’t chase after their vision. We live in a society that preconditions people to be afraid of failure. What will people think? What will happen? The future is unknown, but that doesn’t mean we should fear it. Bamboo Farmers embrace the unknown as an opportunity to become better versions of themselves. Focus on the activity that will bring you success not the bad things that might happen.

When you find yourself in fear, you are too focused on the future. FEAR stands for Future Evidence Appearing Real!

2. Uncertainty

Countless studies on human behavior have revealed that decision making is much easier when there are fewer options to choose from. It is best to create a game plan for success and adjust as you get new information and knowledge. Without a strategy or a game plan, success will be elusive to you; you will not have any idea where to water. A game plan will direct your watering and provide some certainty and eliminate ambiguity.

Slay the pandas in your life.

3. Doubt

Doubt is the most wicked of all the Pandas, because it only takes a little bit to stop you from watering your bamboo (vision). Doubt can be debilitating, and a complete hindrance to growing your bamboo or even planting bamboo in the first place. However, doubt is a normal part of being human. One of the best ways to overcome self-doubt is to acknowledge it, but keep watering anyway. Every single "successful" person has felt doubtful at some point or another, and the ability to overcome such doubt is what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

4. Procrastination

There is very little difference between a successful and an unsuccessful person. The successful person tends do the things they know they "need" to do no matter how they feel. Unsuccessful people tend to favor putting off the hard stuff even though they know doing the hard stuff will make their lives easier in the long run. If you feel like you’re continuing to put things off, remember to focus on doing the hard stuff first.

The worst nation in the world is procrastination!

5. Lack of Focus

People tend to lack focus when they're faced with a task that seems too grand or complex. With something as challenging as personal or professional growth, take the long-term view. To stay focused, break up your activities and efforts into small manageable milestones. This helps you feel more accomplished because you can see how each step tangibly contributes to the long-term outcome. Create a calendar for these small goals and work towards them one at a time.

How do you eat an elephant? YOU DON’T, but you should break your work in to small bite size chunks.

6. Concern About Other People's Opinions

It's hard to go through life without caring what people think of you. Life is challenging enough, so it is important to surround ourselves with supportive, helpful, and inspiring peers. Your bamboo is yours to grow and nurture, and the people around you should be supportive and helpful as you make your way.

Mind your own bamboo!

7. Lack of Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is like a muscle—you must exercise it for it to get stronger. Staying disciplined starts by removing temptations and distractions. To practice self-control, focus on taking care of yourself by eating healthy foods, exercise, and nourish your body from the inside out. By disciplining yourself in small ways, it will become a part of how you approach bigger challenges. And as you become better at controlling your urges and desires, you will grow your self-discipline muscle.

Your success—or lack of—largely depends on one person: you!

Please add to the conversation—comment below or on Twitter at @gregbellspeaks.