First a quote: “A crisis forces us to heed things which, during normal times, we choose to ignore.” –Dr. Mardy
Our health is always important; always! Eating smart and moderate daily exercise are always important. And yet, so many of us tend to largely ignore our health, until one day our bodies literally scream out for our attention; we may experience a heart attack, anxieties or another health-related crisis. Our bodies finally say, enough is enough… pay attention to me or else.
The same thing is true for our most important relationships… the people we love are always important. Our marriages are always important. Our spouses and/or significant others are always important. Our children are always important; always! And so why is it that so many of us get so busy with our jobs, careers, projects, and volunteer work that we ignore the most important people in our lives? Even if it isn’t true, they may perceive it as such. Until one day they scream out for our attention by asking for a divorce, acting out or getting themselves into trouble at school, with drugs or the law. They also may say enough is enough, “Pay attention to me or else.”
This topic has always been a challenge for me personally. I was raised in a rural farming community where hard work; long days and 7-day work weeks were both normal and expected. My parents role-modeled, and taught, hard work as a core family value. By nature, I’m a self-professed workaholic. I love to work and get tremendous satisfaction seeing results.
Please know I am proud of the work ethic my parents ingrained in each of their children, and I am not anti-work. However, I will tell you that for way too much of my career, the most important people in my life, got leftovers. I would work, work, and work; and if there was any time left over, it went to my family. Repeating, the most important people in my life got leftovers.
I’m a very fortunate man. I get to work with people I enjoy, doing work I’m passionate about and, I get to return home after a long trip to a family, that for some reason, still chooses to love me… even with just leftovers for far too long. Certainly, I know how lucky I am.
Most of us know, and get, how important it is to pay attention to our health and family relationships. However, there is also a long list of leadership priorities and issues which are also way to easy to ignore, until they become a crisis, such as:
• Employee bench strength and succession planning
• Continuously improving, updating and enhancing organizational effectiveness
• Staying two steps ahead of both current and future competitors
• Learning more, and applying what we learn, faster than our competitors
• Updating our personal skills and abilities… before those skills are needed
• Better planning upfront, less firefighting, less rework, less fixing later
• Thinking more proactively, more strategically and less reactionary
This coming week doesn’t haven’t to be like last week. We can choose to change our priorities or, give your current priorities the attention they deserve.
Leaders live, think and act intentionally. They are intentional about their priorities. As Stephen Covey would say, “Leaders know how to keep first things first.”
When will you say, “Enough is enough”? Hopefully before your body, or someone you love says it to you first. Who, or what, are the important priorities in your life? Are they getting the time and attention they deserve?
How will you lead differently, or better, this week?
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”