I’m not completely certain whether it was my grandfather who first introduced me to that statement or some overachieving fortune cookie. Well, no matter who said it first, it definitely bares repeating.
It brings me to the realization that if I’m expected to both make time, take time, invest it or give it, then I’d better make room for it as often as possible. Mostly because it saves me, and my time, from being wasted. But expressly because it’s how great men and women lead their lives.
That’s right. Great leaders even lead their lives just like they lead others. They leave very little to chance, and measure everything.
If it’s worthy, if it’s meaningful, if it’s worthwhile, if it brings joy and if it builds others, then it’s worth measuring it with time.
The thing about priorities
Priorities don’t become priorities just because they’re named as such. Actually, it’s quite the contrary. Priorities are mere ordinary tasks, identified as necessary, rearranged to lead the day.
Priorities have to be identified as important, and given intentional focus, else they’ll never find themselves completed.
You see, it’s not the lack of leadership capacity that keeps most humans from reaching our greatest potential. Instead, it’s our lack of ordered priorities in the face of hyper-optionality that limits us.
You’ll never meet what you won’t measure.
It is virtually impossible to become a great leader, if you are unwilling to give order to your days, a purpose to your hours and an assignment to your minutes.
The Byrds sang a song written from an old Israeli proverb that says, and I’m paraphrasing:
“Every thing has a season, and every moment of time has a purpose. So be mindful of every day you’re given.”
Are you paying attention
A gift I’ve never seen turned away is the gift of someone’s attention and undivided presence. Being aware of the world around you has to be one of the best ways to keep your priorities in order.
The next time you awake from sleeping, I urge you to prioritize the first 9 seconds of consciousness each morning and devote them to acknowledging that you indeed are breathing. And if you aren’t breathing when you wake up, then completely disregard this exercise— you’ve got more pressing things to worry about. 😁
Awareness is not, nor has it ever been, a superpower reserved only for “natural born leaders.” It’s a priority. But only to those who are willing to care about it.
We prioritize the things we care about. And we will never care about the things we don’t prioritize.
It’s okay to be pushy
Everyday we wake up, the circumstances of the day are already lurking on the lock screen of our smartphones. And to make matters worse, Alexa, Siri and Google Home are all in cahoots; immediately pulling us into a day set up to utterly overtake us…if we’ll allow it.
This is where flexion is of the utmost importance. If you are to master your day through prioritizing, it is imperative that you remain flexible when needed and unyielding when required.
Just like with your muscles, stretching yourself without overextending can improve flow.
Maintaining your days and hours with designated purpose leaves room for grand interruptions and spontaneous flow throughout out your day, because you could be easily found where you were supposed to be.
So, tomorrow morning, once you’ve spent those first moments paying close attention to your breathing, let your feet touch the floor and your arms fly out towards the heavens. And as though you’re lifting the ceiling above you, stretch your fingers to their furthest points. Then rise to your feet, give way to that rush of life coursing through you and the adjusted pace of your heart, and push your way into the day.
Determine the priority of your moments. Establish who gets you and for how long. Set aside times for thinking, times for creating, times for conversing and times for executing. Give even your downtime a purpose. Relax, recline and recover. And don’t let anyone interrupt that.
When you take the time to respect your own life by prioritizing what’s important, you’ll see that other people will be more inclined to prioritize you into their’s as well.
This post is an excerpt from my upcoming book ‘The Thing About Being Great: 7 powerful thoughts that make you too irresistible not to follow’