Your priorities are more than just the things you need to do right away. Priorities mean deciding how you live your life – its like finding your style, your groove. You may want to be center stage as a performer, or you may prefer to work out of the limelight. You may be most excited when you are working with a group, or you may find that you only accomplish things by working alone. If you like to work with other people, you may need to be the leader or you may need to be the go-to person who gets the detail work done.
You might need complete freedom to create, or on the other hand, you might need a framework or a clear step-by-step plan. Would money be a priority even when you had enough to live comfortably? Would you like to help people who are sick or deprived of something else? Your most comfortable situation may be a combination of several of these. Probably, though, one style fits you the best.
Your priorities will fine-tune the picture. How do you want to live? How do you want your body to look and feel? Lots of friends or just a few? Many years ago, I found myself having to go through this work on myself. I was traveling all over the world speaking to groups. I was living the dream and it was exciting. But it was also a grind. I was traveling twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four days a month.
One day I found myself looking up at the ceiling of another hotel room and thinking, “There’s got to be more to life than this. I want to go to my kid’s Little League games. I want to mix it up with my friends. I want to be home.” I had my priorities all wrong.
I had to stop and think how to balance my passion, my purpose and my priorities. With a little work,
I was able to reduce my traveling schedule and spend more time at home. And you know what? I actually enjoyed traveling more, because I was doing it the way I wanted to.
Your priorities change over time. You’ll want to keep checking in with yourself, asking yourself if this is what you want and when you want it. You’ll find too, when you start accomplishing your goals, that in itself, will affect your priorities. In fact everything in your life will evolve. Even your purpose may change over time. Andrew Carnegie spent half his life making money and the other half giving it away. He was born poor, but once he was rich, he wanted to give back.
I’ll tell you a secret. You know the reason I was traveling so much? I was trying to be someone else. I had read that another speaker was always on the road, and I thought, “Well, I guess that’s what I have to do. I’m not really doing my job, unless I’m traveling all the time.” There I was again, living my life by someone else’s rules. I was living the dream, but not enjoying it.
I learned my lesson, and I hope you learn from my lesson too. Your goal may be the same as someone else’s, but you have to accomplish it your way, with your abilities, your purpose, and your priorities. Like the old saying goes, you were born an original, why die a copy?