“You don’t let the guy with the broom control how many elephants are in the parade.” -Merlin Mann
If you decide to throw a parade, then it’s inevitable that you’re going to create a mess. If you create a mess, then someone has to come along after the parade is done and clean the mess up. That person is the guy with the broom.
The guy with the broom has a different agenda than the person hosting the parade. The guy with the broom is interested in keeping things simple, neat, and clean. As a maintenance man, his primary goal is to maintain the status quo. The person hosting the parade is interested in throwing the party of a lifetime. Their primary goal is to create a stir and shake things up.
If you let the guy with the broom control how many elephants there are in your parade, then he’s going to pick a number that creates the least amount of mess for him to clean up. Any parade with little chance of making a mess, is a parade that will neither create a stir nor shake things up. Ultimately it’s a parade that isn’t worth throwing because the whole point is defeated by an exaggerated concern over the perceived inconvenience it may create for someone else.
The guy with the broom is the person who’s basing his ability to have a good day on the hopes that you will make choices that are safe, predictable, and unthreatening relative to his own preferences. Your life, your dreams, your integrity: that’s the parade. And when it comes to throwing a parade, you have to go big or go home. There will always be broom holders who comment about your endeavors and the discomfort it “forces” them to endure. No one who ever created a stir was exempt from “making” others feel uncomfortable. The guy with the broom is not your responsibility. Appreciate him for what he does, but don’t let his concerns sweep away your piorities and principles.
Keep the elephants in your parade. That is, be who you have to be, do what you have to do, and say what you have to say. Because if there’s no parade, then what’s the point?