Storytelling Blog

We believe everyone is a story-teller and everyone has a story to share. This is where we share stories, tips and updated information about 99 Hills. We'd love your input in the comments! If you want to write for us, email


How To Train an Elephant

I got to listen to a bunch of podcasts on our drive back to North Carolina from Florida after Thanksgiving. I heard this story on one of them (EntreLeadership) and I’d love to share it with you.

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When a circus gets a new, wild, baby elephant to train, this is how they do it. They’ll bring the baby elephant into the empty tent, drive a massive, 10 foot iron stake into the ground, drag out a thick, heavy, metal chain, and tether the small, baby, wild elephant to the stake. The baby elephant will fight and fight and fight to get free. Doing everything it can think of. But the chain is too heavy, shackled too tightly, and the stake driven too deep into the ground. As much as he tries, the little elephant can’t break free, and eventually gives up.

Now fast forward 10 years. That elephant, now massive, mature, and strong, is tied by thin rope, slightly more than string, and tied to a small piece of wood shoved in the ground. The rope is only tied snuggly enough for the animal to feel it and know it’s there. The beast could easily just decide to move the opposite direction, just walk the other way and it would simply break free. Or, give his leg a shake and it would slip off. Yet, this huge beast doesn’t attempt to escape, because long ago, when it was a baby, it knew it couldn’t. And it’s gone all these years, believing that it could not escape. Now a full-grown adult, it believes the lie that he doesn’t have what it takes.

By now of course you know where I’m headed. I am that elephant. You are the elephant. We all believe lies about who we are, what we can do, where we “belong.” 

Some of these lies were told to us long ago, when we were a baby elephant, and we’ve carried them our whole lives, and been shackled to a stake that ran deep into the ground. But now, we’re different. And while our surroundings may not be so different, much like the elephant, we’ve grown.

Some of us tell ourselves the lie that we’re not good enough. Not smart enough. Don’t look good enough. These lies can be especially hard because the enemy plants them in us, and the more and more we give into them, the more they come to define us.

It’s time to shake off the rope. It’s time to change directions. It’s time to stop believing the lie.

And just like everything else, the first step is admitting the lie. Either writing or speaking this out loud makes the whole difference. I’ll share one of mine. 

The lie that I hear the most right now is that I’m not smart enough & people won’t follow me. This translates in my head to: perhaps my new business will fail.

Now, I know the odds are against me. Most new businesses do fail. And mine might. 

But if it does, I’m determined to make sure that it’s not because the lie in my head is realized. I will continue to read, listen, and learn as much as I can about my field and business. And I will do everything I can to pursue making a difference in people’s lives and making sure that churches and businesses are different as a result of working with me.

So. I’ve told you mine. Will you share yours? Sharing your lie is an incredibly powerful way of putting it to death in our lives. Share yours in the comments below and let's beat these lies together.


Once expressed, the next step to overcoming the lie is taking action. All it takes is one step. Then another. Then another. No mountain is ever overcome but through a series of small, repeated steps.

My next small step is identifying and connecting to a large, new audience for a new product I’m working on.