What’s Better For You: The Firehose Or Drip Irrigation?

Making your life (and business or nonprofit) better involves some change. Is it better to make the change all at once or one small step at a time?

What’s better: The metaphorical firehose or drip irrigation?

The answer is, “It depends.”

When your building is on fire, you need a firehose. You need rapid change, or the harm is immense. When your business is bleeding lots of money, swift action is necessary, or you may be out of business.

However, a steady drip wins the race over a short burst in most cases.

  • Abruptly changing your lifestyle may work for some people. For many people, it does not. 
    • For example, let’s say you want to shift your eating habits to intermittent fasting. Some can go “cold turkey” and stop eating and drinking at 8 pm and not eat again at noon the next day. You could say that is the “firehose” approach. However, you could get there in a few steps (the “drip irrigation” approach):
      • Week 1: Stop eating and drinking after 8 pm. Depending on your habits, that may cut out some snacking and drinking wine. Get used to that. (You may even host a party during that week as I did – and I managed to stick to my plan.)
      • Week 2: Same as Week 1 plus don’t eat before 10 am (except coffee without sweetener). Set up your rules for success. I am exempting Saturday because I train in martial arts Saturday mornings, and I’m not too fond of the idea of an empty stomach for that. Also, I still want a tiny sip of milk with my coffee. Purists may disagree – frankly, I don’t care (at least not during week 2).
      • Week 3: Same as week 1, plus don’t eat before noon.
  • An intense workshop is excellent. However, it is much more effective if it is followed up with ongoing implementation support and coaching.
  • A weekend course leaves you feeling energized and full of ideas. Yet, how much of that gets implemented? A three-month program that consists of online training resources (rewindable and consumed at your pace), live coaching cohorts, and a pinch of private coaching beats such a weekend by far.

One counterpoint to my “drip irrigation” argument: Sometimes, we need to get some information under our belt quickly and succinctly. For example, our new Brilliance Mining Deep Dive gives a thorough overview of Brilliance Mining in only two hours. It sets the stage for business owners, executives, and leaders of nonprofits who want to understand Brilliance Mining better.

I’m Curious

  • Which do you like better: firehose or drip irrigation?
  • In which area of life or business are you using which?

Live Brilliantly,

Dr. Stephie

P.S.: I appreciate you commenting and sharing this Brilliance Nugget with others. Thank you!

Stephie Althouse

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