In today’s self-promotional, often grandiose, rose-colored online society, it’s easy to feel that you never do enough, that you’re not at the right places with the right people at the right times, and that you can never catch up. It’s a self-sabotaging mindset that can dash our hopes and deflate our spirits.
How do we find peace with where we are at this precise moment in time, and with the choices we make for ourselves? How do we not feel as if we are missing out?
I live in multiple universes. For the last 20+ years, I’ve been a driven entrepreneur as I’ve built two companies while developing my writing and speaking careers. However, for the last 18+ years, I’ve also been a full-time, hands-on mother to two sons (now 18 and 15) with my husband of 23 years. During that time, I’ve also juggled elder care and loss during my mother’s grave illness and eventual death.
I speak frequently about the elusive holy grail of work-life balance, and the myths that one can have it all. I’ve spoken with and counseled hundreds of women about juggling my dual-careers of business- building and home-building.
Microsoft selected me last Fall as one of eight entrepreneurs to participate in a discussion with other industry experts about the future of women’s entrepreneurship. In my interview, I stressed the importance of “Leaning Out,” and of being OK with passing up opportunities that don’t align with where you are in life at a specific moment in time.
After performing this non-stop juggling act for almost two decades, I’ve finally learned the secret to knowing and celebrating your personal priorities:
You alone must make peace with your choices, with no regard for anyone else’s opinion, understanding, or approval.
This inner peace results from acknowledgement of three truths:
1: Your knowledge of your personal core value system, and how it drives where you are at this point in time;
2: Your courage to live your values and reach back to them when you are challenged to depart from them;
3: Your awareness that where you are today will shift. All is impermanent, including your priorities, at any given moment in time.
While we may think we have “competing priorities,” we can only have one priority at any given moment. To be thinking of other commitments while we are physically engaged in a single priority only prevents us from being present in any priority.
I’ve created a Prioritization Pyramid that shows the correlation between prioritization and clarity. When we fully commit to our priorities, we achieve clarity. Clarity leads to renewed focus and a sense of calm.
When we are confused and conflicted, our path to clarity is through our core values. What matters most to us at this precise moment in time?
I was recently presented with several incredible opportunities that seemed like prioritization conflicts but through deeper analysis, I realized they were not conflicts at all. In the end, my choice of where to be at this precise moment in time manifested from my core value of “family first.”
My mother used to say, “We can’t be tall and short at the same time.” I think of this often as I continue to be presented with wonderful opportunities that may challenge my “family first” value.
When we are presented with “opportunities” no matter how big or small, we will miss something else if we choose to accept the opportunity. There are no “right” or “wrong” choices; there are only choices that do or don’t work for your specific life, at this moment in time.
Your choices don’t have to please others. They must simply work for you.
- Knowledge of your core values.
- Your courage to live your values and reach back to them when you are challenged to depart from them.
- Awareness and acceptance of the fact that where you are today will shift and that everything is impermanent.
These three truths will allow you to celebrate your personal priorities without second-guessing your choices, and achieve clarity & peace along your journey of both realized and missed opportunities.
Wishing you peace and clarity as you step into your personal power of prioritization.
PS: I wrote about the path to clarity in our businesses in a previous blog here. I also share my three integrated strategies (time management, energy management, and prioritization) for Peak Productivity here.
I work one-on-one with CEOs to help them clarify their priorities in both their personal and professional lives, so that they achieve maximum clarity, productivity, peace, and joy. Through my proprietary toolkit and highly targeted coaching sessions, we clear away the clutter. Email me at [email protected] if you can benefit from greater clarity of your priorities and more effective time management.
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We work with business owners, CEOs, and leadership teams that want to achieve their greatest personal & organizational potential. Through coaching, strategic consulting, retreat facilitation, and workshops, we equip leaders & emerging leaders with the mindset, tools, strategies, and processes they need to excel.
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Please check out my Inc. Magazine columns on my Author Page too.
– In my latest Inc, article, I share The Essential Guide to Avoiding Workplace Text, Email, & Social Media Disasters.
– Learn about the 9 Leadership Behaviors that Lose Employee Trust & Respect here.
CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”