“How do you live by your priorities?”
A client asked me this question the other day after she had listened to my podcast episode, Setting your Priorities in 4 Steps.
She was half-way through the accompanying workbook and was stuck on Step 3: Review your Lists. This step is intended to be a review and reflect step, creating awareness of how you are living. It’s powerful to do a side-by-side review of your aspirational priorities and your priorities based on how you actually spend your time. Do they line up at all? Are you okay with that?
My client asked, “If one priority tries to supersede another, what do I do? Here’s an: If my work continues to take precedence over my daughter’s school concerts, what do I do?”
In this case, I asked her if she was okay with work (a much lower aspirational priority) taking precedence over a much higher aspirational priority (in this example, her daughter)?
She wasn’t sure.
I pushed back, “If you did know, how would you answer?”
She explained that she consistently has clients who want something from her urgently. What should she do then?
I asked, “how do you feel when your clients constantly come to you with urgent requests?”
She replied, “stressed and anxious.”
I asked, “so, what do you do?”
She replied, “I say yes, cancel plans with my family, and then work all night to get it done.”
I asked, “then what?”
She replied, “I get it done. It’s not as excellent as it could be. I am exhausted because I stayed up all night and my client continues to ask me to do work with extremely tight turn-arounds.”
I then asked, “When you are exhausted the next day, how do you treat your husband and daughter who are your top aspirational priorities?”
Her frank reply: “Pretty shitty.”
“Are you okay with doing that on a constant basis?”
“No. No, I am not.”
That’s is the importance of step 3 and living by your priorities. Being aware of how you are or are not currently living your priorities allows you to 1) acknowledge what’s going on and then 2) make a change if one is needed.
This is YOUR work to do. Do it without judgement. Don’t bring other’s into this work. If you find yourself saying, “Well, this SHOULD be my priority,” ask yourself why others are telling you how you should or shouldn’t live. If you are okay with the answer, continue on, if you aren’t CHANGE IT.
Many of my clients think an occasional hijacking of your priorities is okay. I’m not arguing, but I do want you to be aware of what you are doing. Choosing to put something or someone else ahead of your top priorities can be a hard habit to break.
What Living By Your Priorities Can Look Like
I would like to share a story of another client who is living by his priorities and how it inspired someone else.
This client is a leader in a large family business. Through our hard work together, he realized that he is his best self when he is living by his aspirational priorities. This gives him a confidence and a leadership ability second to none. His employees LOVE him and send him constant feedback telling him how much he has helped them in their lives.
It’s a constant practice to live by your priorities in and out of work.
One evening, he was sitting down with his family about to eat dinner. Just then, the doorbell rang. It was a contractor wanting to do some work in their house. My client looked at his wife, the kids, and got from the table to answer the door. He then proceeded to ask the contractor to wait until family dinner was over. Having dinner with his family at the end of the day was a top priority for him and he shared that with the contractor.
The contractor agreed to wait.
After dinner, the contractor pulled my client aside and told him how much he appreciated what he did. It had never happened to him before and he really respected my client’s decision to prioritize family dinner, and therefore, his family.
The contractor repeated this statement two more times before leaving. How many people do you think this contractor shared this story with? Perhaps my client’s actions inspired the contractor to live more by his priorities, too.
What about my client’s family? Do you think this commitment to put his family first helped model how they could each do the same? I think it did! And I’m willing to bet the ripple effect of his actions and commitment to his priorities is spreading on and on.
Living by your priorities helps you live the life you want to lead.
If you want help with figuring out your priorities, schedule your free coaching session with me today.