What are your life priorities? How do you achieve them and get off the “hamster wheel?” The one where you run and run to the point of exhaustion but get nowhere in particular?
I give you today’s post as food for thought.
I am no “techie,” but I do check the stats on this blog from time to time (WordPress makes it easy). When I do, the things that jump out at me are:
- The # of views
- Where the views are coming from (all over the world!)
- Which blog posts get the most views
Regarding that last point…I try to post things that are about my novel, Evangelina Takes Flight or are related to themes in the novel. You know, a focus.
Ironically, one of the blog posts that gets the most views is titled The Wisdom of the Cheshire Cat, and it only indirectly links to my book in that one of the “key takeaways” in Evangelina aligns to it. Meaning, it’s a message I wanted to convey when I wrote the book, but it’s not IN the book.
A little background on the Cheshire Cat post – I have been facilitating The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People workshop by Stephen Covey for over 20 years (I am only certified to do this at work). Given that it’s about personal effectiveness, I actually try to live the principles in each habit as best I can, albeit imperfectly. I make a better facilitator that way, too.
Students have given me overwhelmingly positive feedback over the years about the power of the workshop, the Habits and transformative change they can and do bring.
The Wisdom of the Cheshire Cat was my attempt at summarizing what I teach in Habit 2, Begin with the End in Mind. If you haven’t read the post, I recommend you do. The concepts in Habit 2 can provide you with direction and purpose. For a more complete understanding of the concepts, buy Stephen Covey’s book (e-book, audiobook or whatever). This is, of course, after you buy MY book. ; > )
This leads me to today’s post. At some point in the history of this blog, I said I would share key learning from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with you, and then, I stopped after Habit 2.
I pick up today with Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 2, Begin with the End in Mind says, that to be truly effective, you must first know where you want to go, who your key relationships are with and what your most important life priorities and values are. Then, commit to them. When I teach the class, I ask students how they want to be remembered by the people that matter most to them – their spouse, kids, partner, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, church community, etc. What legacy do they want to leave?
Habit 3 is where the proverbial rubber hits the road. It’s where you make your personal vision come true. How do you get the best shot at your life turning out the way you’ve always dreamed?
Imagine it. Believe it. (Habit 2) Commit to it. Schedule it. Do it. (Habit 3)
This may sound all woo-woo, but Habit 3 is actually kind of simple, in concept. (Not easy to stick with, in reality, I admit. Bad habits die hard.)
Once you know what your most important goals/life priorities are and which relationships are most important to you, build your schedule around those things. Schedule the important/high value things first – the things that get you the biggest gain and move you closer to your goals. What usually happens is, we get caught up in the day to day scramble of life, and we do what’s immediately in front of us and neglect the things we should be doing to help us attain our highest aspirations such as (examples only): spend quality time with my family, exercise, nurture a shaky relationship with a client, finish my college degree, improve a skillset that will help my career, take my car in for maintenance so it doesn’t break down later, put money away for my retirement, do “the little things” for my spouse that I used to do when we were still dating.
If you don’t SCHEDULE IN the most important/highest-value things first, the day to day scramble will win out every time. Actually schedule them in. Write them down on a pad of paper, on the calendar next to your fridge, in your mobile phone app.
Habit 3 asks you to be do things proactively and preventively and less reactively. Habit 2 is your blueprint. Habit 3 is building the house, one line at a time, purposefully, with deep focus and discipline, always being aware of the prize at the end – goal attainment (the completed degree, the strong family bonds, the nice retirement nest egg, the book you always wanted to write!).
You’re less likely to rebuild the damaged relationship with your teenager after the fact. Why not keep it strong all along? You’re not likely to build enough of a retirement nest egg if you start at age 55. Plan for it and do it earlier. The temptation of the “shiny object” or “pressing issue” will always be there, but focus on the bigger, more important, longer term win. How do you want to be remembered? What will be your legacy?
I am not perfect at this, but I try. It takes a lot of practice, and I have gotten better over time, but I still mess up. But, I do see the payout in beautiful bits and pieces every day. Mostly in the relationships I hold most dear; the relationships for which there are no “do-overs,” the relationships I will reflect on and define my ultimate success by when all is said and done.
Imagine it. Believe it. Commit to it. Schedule it. Do it.
If you want to read my summary of Habit 1, Be Proactive, click HERE. I titled it, “Conscious Endeavour,” and the concepts are sprinkled throughout Evangelina Takes Flight.