Posts tagged priorities
Make What’s Most Important Most Important

One morning last week, I made myself my favorite breakfast – fruit-filled pancakes – before heading downstairs to my home office to get my day started.

Shortly before I finished, I used some of the batter to prepare a plain pancake for my teenage daughter (she doesn’t seem to feel that pancakes and fruit go together), and she decided to sit down to eat it. This is a girl that almost never eats breakfast, certainly not in the kitchen.

So, instead of making my way downstairs, I sat down right there in the kitchen and ate with her.

We chatted about breakfast, school, and other stuff.

It was short but pleasant and a great way for both if us to start our days.

Sometimes, in our rush to get to work and (officially) start our days, we jump in, power up and plow ahead, leaving our lives behind for the time being.

At least, that’s what usually happens to me.

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How to Know When to Keep Pushing

Recently, I was out driving on the highway during a rain storm. I signaled right and started to switch lanes. The problem was that, due to low visibility, I failed to see a van that was moving into the same space. It’s tail swiped the front side of my car.

For the next few days, I drove around with increased hesitation. Before turning, I would double and triple check. My driving speeds were down a few miles. In general, I was more cautious. After a while, however, I was back to my New York driver self, navigating the streets with (semi) reckless abandon.

It’s common for people who experience a setback to be more cautious the next time. The problem is, many folks will often view a single failure as an indictment on past efforts and not try again. For example, they make a large number of sales calls that don’t convert. Or they produce a product, service or program that they believe will sell and get almost no response. So, they quickly throw in the towel and give up.

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Walking the Tightrope of Life

Many of us struggle to achieve and maintain proper balance in our lives. We seek to succeed in the work arena while simultaneously being there for our families and loved ones. We have a strong sense of community and want to give back to those around us while also ensuring that we attend to our health-related, emotional, and spiritual needs on a regular basis.

Despite our best intentions,our many aims oftentimes come into direct conflict with one another. We simply cannot give as much time as we would like to each of these areas in a manner that is fully satisfying. How can we manage to strike the proper balance between these oft-competing realms in a manner that is both responsible and fulfilling?

For starters, it is important that we take the time to identify and prioritize our core values and aspirations. Often this is best achieved through the creation of a personal mission statement, which lays out what is most important and what we strive to achieve in each realm. A coach, guide or mentor can be helpful here in ask the hard questions that drill down on what is truly important. They can also offer a different perspective and value set to your own.

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Do You Live to Work or Work to Live?

The upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot (the Festival of Weeks, which commences on Saturday evening) commemorates the Hebrews receiving of the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, at Sinai some 3300 years ago. On that seminal date, a series of commandments were issued that would frame key elements of monotheistic thought, spiritual observance, and social interaction for centuries to come.

The Sinaitic experience was the culmination of a seven-week period that began with the Hebrews’ Exodus from Egypt (commemorated by Passover). That physical birth, so to speak, of the Hebraic nation was followed by its spiritual naissance at the foot of the mountain.

It is noteworthy that the seven-week period that separates Passover from Shavuot is a period of counting, known as Counting of the Omer. During these 49 days, the Torah proscribes a steady, upward count, leading up to Shavuot.

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Life Lessons from the Pool

Today was a fun day. I set up our “new” pool (it was actually a replacement for a damaged one) and my kids, who had been pining for the pool since the last one collapsed, got back into the water again. They swam, splashed and genuinely enjoyed one another. It was a perfect activity for today’s sunny, hot afternoon.

While we definitely enjoyed the end result, there was much effort that went into the pool’s setup. For starters, I had set up the original pool on a slightly sloped area (no part of my back yard is perfectly flat). The water had previously caused the pool to sag to the downside and I wanted to prevent the same outcome this time. So I took my landscape rake and worked for some time to flatten out any bumps and reduce all elevations...

As I reflected on my morning of pool prepping, I thought of some lessons that have useful application to many areas in our lives. These include:

  1. Lay a solid foundation – All successful projects begin with a solid, smooth foundation. Whether it’s setting up a pool, launching a new product, or initiating organizational change, a strong foundation helps to ensure that the process will be met with success. When it comes to anything people related, the primary foundation of strong relationships is trust. In the case of a bringing a new product to market, seek to do the necessary research and testing to ensure that the launch will be a success.
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