Daily Leadership Thought #181 – What Are Your Priorities?

July 26, 2011

Setting Your Life Priorities Right

It is impossible to be truly happy and successful in life without a strong sense of priorities.  There are no shortage of distractions competing for your attention.  It is easy to get out of balance and sidetracked by issues that are comparatively unimportant in the wide scheme of things.   Sadly, we often taken for granted people we shouldn’t and have a tendency to lose our perspective when we need it most.   Many people I meet struggle with guilt and regret over what they wish they would have done differently in certain areas of their life.  More often than not they are unhappy with how they prioritized their time, energy and attention.

Strong priorities should be the foundation upon which you build your life.  I’ve often heard the saying if you want to know what a person values watch what they do rather than listening to what they have to say.  It’s much easier to understand a concept than put it into practice.  If you are not careful over time you will get further and further away from the person you wanted to be and life you imagined.  At first it happens subtly and gradually, however at the midpoint of life there is usually some type of catharsis or breakdown that spurs you into action and decision making that often isn’t healthy or productive (although we rationalize it at the time).

I’d like to offer the following observations for your consideration and to help you gauge where you may need to reprioritize some things in your own life:

  • Intuitively, we all know the importance of family, but how many people do you know who sacrificed a marriage or healthy relationship with their children because of career pressures and/or selfish behaviors?
  • It no surprise that diet and exercise affect health and quality of life, but how many people do you know who fail to commit to a regular exercise schedule and pay minimal attention to what they eat and drink?
  • Friendships will always be key to your happiness yet how many of us allow close relationships to wither and die due to a lack of attention and effort?
  • Life can difficult and challenging at times and we all need something that grounds us and provides comfort, yet how many people do you known who avoid or minimize the effort they put into forming a spiritual /religious identity?
  • We all spend a considerable amount of time at work yet how many people do you know who continue to labor at a career that doesn’t inspire or motivate them?

Time is finite.  Once it’s gone it is gone.  So how you spend your time and energy is critical to the level of happiness and self-satisfaction you create in your life.  We all need basic priorities around family, health, friendships, spirituality and work that will allow us to make the best possible decisions given the time we have left.