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How to Prioritize What Truly Matters

October 18, 2021 • Inspiration & Motivation

Right now we are experiencing a major shift in ways of working and in the importance of work-life balance. With The Great Resignation, we’ve seen lots of conversation around employees and leaders reassessing their priorities and reevaluating where they spend their time and energy. It’s so important for leaders to help their teams identify what truly matters so leaders and businesses know how to help support their teams.

My Moment of Realization 

Once during my mid-to-late twenties, my parents fly in from Michigan to visit. I lived in Atlanta, and I was so excited to see them because my parents and I are really close. We actually still talk every day. I picked them up from the airport and took them to this great restaurant where we could sit outside, look out over the city and enjoy the beautiful weather together. I had really been looking forward to spending time with them and was so excited for time together.

All of a sudden, my phone started ringing constantly, one athlete or coach after another. I jumped up from the table, walked over under this old tree that was right there, and took every single call. After the fourth call, my mom asked me what they wanted and it was like I turned the fire hose on her. I told her, “That was a golfer, and his clubs didn’t arrive. He’s freaking out. I have to go to the manufacturer to build some stuff for him for this week.” And, “That was one of my coaches. He thinks the job’s going to open up. He’s interested in it.” And then the phone rang again. “Mom, this is one of my baseball players. He thinks he’s getting traded.”

My mom looked at me completely unimpressed and annoyed that I was taking every call when they just landed and had come down to see me. I had been so excited to spend time with my parents, and yet, I was totally unfocused. I wasn’t present at all for them. Something that I was so excited about previously quickly found itself lower on my priority list. I was more worried about my athletes and coaches at that moment.

A Five-Minute Exercise to Find What Matters

When I work with leaders and teams, there is a simple exercise I like to utilize to help them identify what truly matters. I’d like to walk you all through it in five simple steps.

Step 1: Take a moment and identify the five most important things in your life. Maybe it’s faith, maybe it’s your family or your career. Take five separate little sheets of paper and write one thing on each sheet.

Step 2:  Now you have the five most important things in your life on five separate sheets of paper. Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to pick up the least most important of those five and crumple it up. I want you to just set it in front of you.

Step 3: You’re down to four sheets. Those are the four most important things in your life. Now, pick another one. Again, I want you to crumple it up and put it in front of you.

Step 4: You are left with three. Look at those three and pick the least most important of those and crumple it up.

Step 4: You have two sheets left and you know where we are going, pick the least important and crumple it up. Now, you’re looking at the most important thing in your life.

I need you to ask yourself if you are giving that one thing enough of your time and energy? Does that one thing know that it matters to you? Is that one thing in your calendar every day? Is it something that you’re intentional about ensuring you live throughout your days and weeks?

Be Intentional and Disciplined to Protect What Matters 

We live in a world where we can have more than one thing that we focus on. You can uncrumple the other four sheets, but I have a challenge for you. Make sure you are intentional and disciplined about ensuring that the one thing or the five things are living inside of your days. Be intentional. Be disciplined. It’s up to you to prioritize where you put your energy or the world will decide for you. That was the mistake that I made that moment when my parents came to visit. They are the top one, two, or three things in my life. But I wasn’t behaving like that. If we are going to live those one, two, or three things that matter the most to us, it requires discipline, and it requires intentionality.

It's up to you to identify and prioritize what matters to you, or the world will decide for you.

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The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams, and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. The Energized Leader Training helps you and your team align your energy with the important and avoid costly burnout. Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Her Leadership Huddles are a monthly group coaching community to guide you towards your full potential. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.