While I cannot control or manage the ticking of the clock,
I can manage my choices. I manage my priorities and, thus, I manage my life.
I have written on this blog in the past about priorities ((#100) Milestones: Endpoints or Checkpoints? and (#87) Priority Management: Are You Doing the Right Things or Are You Just Doing Stuff?) and the need to focus efforts on what is important in our lives. We cannot manage time. It is a finite number (24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a month, and 12 months in a year). We cannot manipulate it. We can, however, manage our priorities. What we focus on becomes an indication of what is important in our lives.
I get pushback on this from time to time. “But, Steve,” I hear, “what about if my kids get sick or the boss demands I work overtime, or a storm creates havoc in our community, or the car conks out. Those issues require that I have to move away from what is important (my goals, my dreams) and take care of those emergencies.”
Yes, at times events confront us that we did not plan for or want deal with (see Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”). When we, however, decide to focus on those unexpected events they do become our priorities. It becomes a priority to nurse our child, complete the work project, or get the car to the shop. Even though we might not like it or we might not want to deal with it, the new situation has moved up the list quickly on our priority list. Our priorities can–and often do–change in a matter of moments.
It becomes too easy to say in these circumstances that “I ran out of time to do what I really wanted to do.” Time becomes the culprit to blame and shift attention. The actuality is we end up doing what we need to do in these times because our child, our job or our means of transportation IS the priority. We still can focus on our long-term priorities.
In an article in Success Magazine, John C.Maxwell quotes Jennifer Reed about the danger of “later.”
“Later is one of those dream killers, one of the obstacles we
put up to derail our chances of success. The diet that starts tomorrow,
the job hunt that happens eventually, the pursuit of the life dream
that begins someday….”
In short, this leads to what Maxwell refers to as accidental growth–and an easy path to creating ruts in our lives.
Maxwell presents an effective contrast between accidental growth and intentional growth. He says that if we go about life in an ACCIDENTAL fashion we can find ourselves:
- Planning to start that important project tomorrow (“later”)
- Depending on luck
- Giving up too quickly
- Talking big–but playing it safe
- Thinking like a victim.
The person who is INTENTIONAL about his/her life will move through life
- Insisting on action today–not tomorrow
- Taking responsibility for his/her own growth
- Relying on hard work
- Thinking like a learner.
Video recommendation for the week:
In this video, Maxwell explains the importance making and managing decisions that will shape our lives. These become our priorities. We manage them if we want to be intentional about our present and future.
I have a piece of self-advice that I remind myself of each day when I open my eyes: My life is the sum of the small and consistent choices I make and do each day.
While I cannot control or manage the ticking of the clock, I can manage my choices. I manage my priorities and, thus, I manage my life.
That is intentional and that is powerful.
Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B.as needed!
REGISTER NOW for my October 12, 2012 P.D.Q. Webinar “Social Media with Purpose: Tips from a Non-Techie!” Click here or paste this link into your web browser: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2376790441069310976
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please pass it (and any of the archived posts on this site) along to friends and colleagues. You can also follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and join in–or start–a conversation (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli). Also, if you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment. Have a wonderful week!