“We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”

“We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”

Alan Turing, 20th Century English computer scientist

Image from Unsplash by The New York Public Library

The world recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of man’s landing on the moon.

It is interesting to note that many of the first pioneers into space pointed to the fragility of the earth and how vital it is for all of us to be better stewards of our precious planet.

We are so often enthralled by the big picture that we can fail to pay attention to what is right before us, as today’s quote implies.

Did you know that the human eye is so sensitive that if you were standing on a mountain top on a dark night, you could see a candle flame flickering up to 30 miles away? The height of the mountain would remove the impact of the earth’s curvature.

We can also sense the light from the Andromeda Galaxy, composed of about a trillion stars and located an amazing 2.6 million light-years from Earth.

Yet how often do we not see what is right in front of us?

EXERCISE:

Regardless of how far you can see, what are some of your top personal, professional, and even global priorities that need your best efforts?

“Leave no stone unturned.”

“Leave no stone unturned.”

—Euripides, Ancient Greek Tragedian

Image from Unsplash by Priscilla Du Preez

In many areas of life, “Good Enough” is good enough.

Perhaps you, like many people these days, have pivoted more mindfully, professionally and personally, to dramatically reduce or eliminate certain life commitments, duties, or obligations.

In some cases, leaving these stones unturned makes sense.

On the other hand, there are those high-value priorities and commitments that warrant our fullest attention. What personal or professional areas of life deserve all you’ve got, and anything short of excellence won’t do?

EXERCISE:

Select one top priority project or area of your life in which you will leave no stone unturned until you realize your goal.

“How can you have a much lighter approach to life?”

“How can you have a much lighter approach to life?”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Christian Erfurt

Who are the people in your professional or personal worlds that seem to carry a very heavy load throughout their days?

How burdened do you feel given your own backpack of commitments, priorities, and responsibilities?

What are the costs to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being?

When eustress—the positive and productive form of stress—exceeds its limits, it cascades over the threshold into distress, which can significantly impact our immune systems and can even lead to disease.

EXERCISE:

Take 5 to 10 minutes to lift your foot off the gas pedal of life and do a Google search on “Stress Management” or “Self-Care Strategies” to help you lighten your approach to life.

Feel free to reply to this post with the strategies or approaches you commit to taking.

“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.”