When Priorities Compete
In January, we’ve explored three areas of LAITHOS’ Strengthen Your Core component through heightening awareness (or initial curiosity) about your values, strengths, and talents. Getting clear on these important aspects of who you are as a leader in work and life supports the remaining area of needed clarity – your priorities.
Because when you know what’s important to you (values) and how you are contributing in your world (strengths and talents), it helps you shape where you want to focus your time and energy. Sounds straightforward, right? Well … what happens when your priorities compete for your time? As Elisabeth Hasselbeck once said: “Nobody’s life is ever all balanced. It’s a conscious decision to choose your priorities every day.”
Last week one of my clients – who is deeply committed to their leadership growth – kicked off our call by saying, “I know the homework was important and I was excited to do it; but I didn’t. It was a tough week. My energy was depleted and I’m no good when that happens. So, I used the time that I had to get some needed sleep.” The client paused, waiting for a reaction, but then quickly added, “And I feel so guilty about it.”
A 10-second longer pause, and the client would have heard me say, “I want to acknowledge you for making a purposeful choice; it sounds like you were clear on what you needed in the moment.” Instead, I asked, “Would you like to explore those feelings of guilt?”
When priorities compete, we either: 1) own our decision to choose one thing over another; or 2) we blame … ourselves, others, or situations. What a difference ownership makes when priorities compete! Yet, that’s not to imply the decision is easy. If health and family are priorities for you, do you use your one hour of free time to go to the gym or help the relative who needs it? If growing your business is a priority as are personal relationships, do you use your time to complete an important project or visit with an out-of-town close relative who is only here for a day?
When we are faced with differing priorities, something must give. The key to having clarity about your priorities is to remember that it isn’t so much about the actual priority you choose but rather that you purposefully choose it, own that decision, and feel good about it.
This Week: Over the next few days, purposefully plan how you choose to use your time. When you have competing priorities, ask yourself: What is the benefit of choosing one over the other? What is at risk if I choose one over the other? How will I feel when I choose one over the other? How will I own my decision? Notice your comfort level in your decision. If blame enters the picture, ask yourself what’s needed to shift into clear ownership.
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Great points Tee! Thanks.
Once you commit to one thing over another, embrace fully without guilt, or minimize both.