“Do not plan for ventures before finishing what is at hand.”

“Do not plan for ventures before finishing what is at hand.”

—Euripides, Ancient Greek Tragedian

Where are you getting ahead of yourself these days? Where might your impatience, a shiny object or the next interesting diversion cause you to take your eyes off the people, projects, or other priorities of the moment?

There is a wise saying that goes: “If you try to chase two rabbits, both will get away.” How many rabbits are you chasing in your professional and personal worlds? How many new ones come into view on what seems like a daily basis?

EXERCISE

Where would taking the “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” approach help you tackle a significant priority before you venture forth toward other matters?

“Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”

“Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”

—Josh Billings, pseudonym of 19th-century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw

With the advent of email and texting, my use of regular or snail mail has declined by over 90%. How about you?

For selective or special mail such as birthday cards, I’m still an old-fashioned guy who sends cards with hand-written notes.

Despite my reduced use, I cannot recall stamps every falling off, and perhaps only a few times when my special message failed to arrive. The speed with which these message got there is another story.

EXERCISE:

What current project or top priority in your professional or personal life requires even greater focus and “stick-to-it-ness” for you to get to the result or outcome you desire?

“Innovation is born from the interaction between constraint and vision.”

“Innovation is born from the interaction between constraint and vision.”

—Marissa Mayer, co-founder of Lumi Labs

Image of Marissa Mayer from Twitter

How innovative and creative are you compared to those around you? How do you stack up against your colleagues, your competitors, and to the global pioneers that are transforming our world with new exponential technologies?

If your ego has gotten a bit bruised by pondering those questions, there is coaching for you in today’s quote.

EXERCISE:

Take a few minutes to examine one or two top priorities in your personal or professional worlds. What is your vision for each area, and what limitations or constraints exist?

Consider expanding your vision in these areas to the point where the constraints become greater, requiring you to be even more innovative.

Even if you shoot for the moon and miss, your innovative efforts will land you among the stars.

“Watch the turtle. He only moves forward by sticking his neck out.”

“Watch the turtle. He only moves forward by sticking his neck out.”

—Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM

Image from Unsplash by Amauri Acosta Montiel

My daughter Rachel’s favorite animal is the turtle. She has many stuffed animals and other tchotchkes to prove it.

It happens that she has lived a life in which she has stuck her neck out many times to move forward on various personal and professional priorities. In college, she did door-to-door sales for an educational products company. She worked 80-85 hours a week, with plenty of rejections along the way. Nevertheless, she pulled in about $25k each summer, as opposed to the 12-week, minimum wage jobs some of her classmates took on.

EXERCISE:

To what degree are you playing it safe in your personal and professional worlds? What top priority issue is calling you to courageously stick your neck out even if you were to progress at a turtle’s pace?

We need to do a better job

“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our to-do-list.”

—Michelle Obama, 44th First Lady of the United States

Image of a checklist

Image from Unsplash by Glenn Carsterns-Peters

The Checklist Manifesto, by writer and surgeon Atul Gawande, is a compilation of stories of how this simple tool has helped to simplify many areas of complexity in our modern world.

Beyond its focus on issues such as healthcare, law, and the financial industry, it points each of us toward simplifying our increasingly complex lives.

Through my years of coaching, I’ve noticed that many people do not list themselves as a priority item on their to-do lists. Sometimes, they never put themselves on the list at all, with considerable consequences.

EXERCISE:

What personal priority needs to be moved to a far higher place on your to-do list? Envision the difference it will make when you make this approach to life a habit that may not require a checklist at all.

Shovel While the Piles are Small

“Shovel while the piles are small.”

—Eric Allenbaugh, Leadership Consultant

Image of cars buried in snow

Image from The Star.com

Today’s quote reminded me of the last substantial snow storm here in Michigan. It was over a weekend, and my plan was simply to wait until it stopped (which it didn’t) to handle the 10-12 inches of wet, heavy stuff at one time. I thought that would be efficient.

Unfortunately, my snow blower didn’t take well to the blade-clogging mixture of snow and ice and refused to cooperate. The result was considerable heavy lifting to clear my driveway. I didn’t need to go to the gym for my regular workout after that!

EXERCISE:

What personal or professional priorities are piling up on you and creating stress?

Where would tackling these piles while they are small be the best approach to lightening your load?

Friday Review Priorities

FRIDAY REVIEW: PRIORITIES

What are your priorities in life? How do you prioritize your priorities? Here are a few priority-related posts you may have missed. Click the link to read the full message.

 

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”

 

 

 

 

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

 

 

 

 

“Dig the well before you are thirsty.”

 

 

 

 

 

A Happy Family is but an Early Heaven

“A happy family is but an early Heaven.”

—John Browning, 19th Century Firearms Designer

Image of a house under a rainbow

For many people – myself included – home and family represent a sanctuary of safety, peace, and happiness. It is a place we expect and usually find security, community, and the love we seek to give and receive.

How much time and attention do you actually give to your family during the work week, as well as on the weekend?

How often do you share meals together without phones, play board games, or engage in deep and meaningful discussions?

Far too many of us operate as ships that pass in the night. We only experience brief moments of togetherness, more often under the same roof, but not together.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can you experience far more “Heaven on Earth” by making your family a more prominent priority each and every day?

Friday Review: Priorities

FRIDAY REVIEW: PRIORITIES

What are your priorities? How do you prioritize your priorities? Here are a few priority-related posts you may have missed. Click the links to read the full message.

 

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”

 

 

“The essence of self discipline is to do the important thing rather than the urgent thing.”

 

 

 

“My brain has too many tabs open.”

 

 

 

 

 

Dig the well before you are thirsty

“Dig the well before you are thirsty.”

⏤Chinese Proverb

Image of a wishing well

Image from Pinterest

The Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” has been used by millions of scouts around the world since the early 1900s. It focuses on always being in a state of readiness, in mind and body, to do your duty.

How prepared is your mind to evaluate and explore the many opportunities, challenges, and choices that present themselves on a daily basis?

How strong, flexible, and able is your body to do what you know is right, so that you can  live your vision and values fully?

EXERCISE:

What are some of your current priorities in which it is important or even urgent to “be prepared’? How will you dig your personal or professional wells before you become thirsty?