Gentle Bamboo Solutions

Shaving a yak


I need to buy some coffee. The nearest shop is closed, so I have to take my scooter. My scooter is out of petrol, so I need to borrow my neighbor’s. He won’t lend me his, because I haven’t returned the cushions I borrowed last week. I can’t return those cushions because my son pulled out some of the stuffing from it. I can’t put any random stuffing in it because it was an imported cushion with exotic fur.

So, here I am, shaving a yak to get some fur to fill the cushion to return to the neighbor to borrow a scooter to go and buy some coffee.

That’s what Yak Shaving is. It is the ridiculous last step in a series of seemingly essential things we do to achieve an objective. When seen as two ends of a spectrum, the total disconnect between the original intent and the final step is obvious. Not so much when we are going step by step.

You want to be a trainer. You don’t have any clients. You start learning about LinkedIn. There are many amazing influencers you start following. Everyone talks about content and engagement. You start posting daily content. Short videos seem to be getting a lot of engagement – so you start doing that now. After a lot of research, Canva feels simple to learn. You get a lot of "likes". A friend reaches out for help and you’re creating videos for her. See where I am going with this? You’re in yak shaving territory.

Don’t go yak shaving for a cup of coffee.

Drinking green tea,


PS: I’m not dissing business development. If anything, I am a huge proponent of spending a lot of time on it. I have a whole framework called the Second Wheel I train a lot of freelancers on how to approach it. My problem is with content creation (especially for social media) that becomes an end goal in itself. This was just an example to illustrate the point of how subsequent tasks get out of hand, and the original objective is forgotten.