Monday, March 19, 2012

Make Room for the Big Rocks!

Americans are guilty of either two extremes. One, they either fall into the despairing traps of laziness. Or, two, they become sucked into the wearisome rat-race of busyness! Both are guilty of failing to schedule their lives around what is truly important, or the "big rocks" of their lives.

Habit #3 of our study of the Covey's Habits of Highly Successful People is putting first things first. This basic idea is scheduling, planning and setting goals to accomplish what is truly most important to us. In addition, it's scheduling these "big rocks" first! I've always argued that we make time for what is truly important to us. Or, we don't forget about the things that are important to us. Also, another way to put it, "where you spend your time is clearly where your heart is" or what is really important to you.

Before you start planning your week around the "big rocks" of what is important, we must investigate what our current "rocks" are and what they should be. For the first investigation, ask yourself these questions:
  • How do I spend my mornings?
  • How do I handle daily responsibilities?
  • How do I spend my free time?
  • What is my attitude on homework?
  • When do I do chores and home responsibilities?
  • As I look at my week, where is the majority of my time spent?
An honest answer to these questions will help indicate what we are making time for. Second, answer the following questions to help establish what is truly important in life:
  • What activities have long-term value?
  • What would I want to be remembered for?
  • Rank the five most important ways you could spend your time.
  • What relationships are most important in life? Reasons?
  • What do you hope to leave for the next generation?
Answers to this last set of questions helps us identify where and how we should be spending our time. Identify your changes for this week and start scheduling your week around what is important and avoid falling prey to trying to keep up with what is urgent in our lives that suck our energy!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Making the Vision a Reality

So, you've thought through your vision, what you see yourself doing and accomplishing. And, you've identified HOW you will carry out this vision. Now what? How do we make this vision become a reality? Do I wait? When do I start?

The answer is simple: start today. I recently talked to a 42 year old gentleman who humbly stated it's taken him twenty years to start leaving out his personal vision. Why did he wait so long? His response was not quite so simple. His answer involved several hurdles, side-steps, mini-vacations, distractions and the list goes on. Before he realized it, he found himself trapped in a daily survival game of "living" rather than "succeeding." However, to his credit, many do not ever make the change and become stuck in their "rut" of life. To his credit, he is now redeeming the time and living out a powerful vision.

What is his vision? He shared how he is living out his vision of mentoring today's youth. A son of a coworker/mother spent the day with him recently working together on a service project for a youth camp. This son of a coworker needed some volunteer hours due to some recent trouble with the law. What's really cool is after several hours of working together, this 42 year old gentleman shared the tough lessons he has had to learn in life and encouraged this young son of the coworker to avoid making the same mistakes. The son verbally stated at the end of the day how much he enjoyed learning new skills through the service project but more importantly, he enjoyed the wisdom that he had learned. That's living out a powerful vision! Many adults live in discouragement and despair about their pasts. This 42 year old has instead used his past to mentor those of the future!

What's the key to living out the vision?
1. Commitment - You live out what you are committed to. Make a personal, heart-felt commitment to accomplish your vision!
2. Set DAILY Goals - S.M.A.R.T. Goals are the daily stepping stones that bring the vision to reality.
3. Alertness - Getting started on living out a vision causes some to miss opportunities because they are looking in the wrong places. This 42 year old listened to a distraught Mother (coworker) and he realized his opportunity to live out his vision and took advantage. Be alert for your opportunities!

What are you doing with your day TODAY? Make it count by living out your vision NOW.