Daily Leadership Thought #156 – Build A Life Around What’s Important To You

June 17, 2011

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There are few things more important than having priorities around what’s important in your life and how you choose to spend your time.  We are all the architects of our own existence, at times struggling with the design challenges, however, the adult life we build is our own.   Happiness is a choice, not just an outcome.  It should also be an expectation.  This doesn’t mean a life devoid of adversity or challenge, or that every day will be joyful.  It does mean that when bad things happen, we will have a greater capacity to deal with them.  It also means that the path back to contentment will be less steep.

The first step is to know what is important to you.  Prioritization requires using basic filters to help guide your decisions.  Here are some principal issues that factor into your life equation. Like most variables, they need to be weighted to reflect their relative importance.

  • What you choose to do for a living
  • The talents you choose to cultivate in yourself
  • The people you surround yourself with – especially those closest to you
  • The role of faith and spirituality in your life
  • The value you place on education
  • Whether or not you aspire to build a family
  • Where you choose to live
  • How you value and spend your free time
  • Your attitude towards money and economic well-being

Secondly, if we choose to add a partner along our journey, it’s important that our values and goals are in concert with theirs and that we deeply commit to their happiness as well.  There is no greater privilege and responsibility than having a front-row seat in someone else’s life.  We can and often do make all the difference in how we each experience our own voyage.   This is an especially critical point if children become part of the trip because they will form most of their important opinions and values by experiencing the behaviors and attitudes of their parents.  Their potential for happiness is often a direct reflection of our own.

Finally, it is important to respect and appreciate that people and circumstances do change over time.  The pathway should be dynamic, not static, with course corrections necessary along the way.

Allow for periods of reflection and assessment, do not just wing it and react to what’s happening.  We often hear of people reinventing themselves.  I have always found this to be a good thing if the process was a thoughtful one.  Stay grounded in what is important to you and those you genuinely care about, and the right decisions will usually become apparent.

Be courageous about your life.  Live it proactively.  Don’t conform to societal conventions that won’t work for you.  Design a journey that has the greatest probability of making you happy.  Everyone can have a work-life balance.  People can and do have rewarding careers and committed relationships.  Spend most of your discretionary time with the people who make you feel good about yourself and support them in kind.  Commit to sharpening your talents and abilities on a regular basis.  Take comfort in knowing that financial success is often positively correlated with personal passion and commitment.  After all, it’s all up to you!