Your work or career – umm, not even close.
Your hobbies or interests – Love to fish, but not the highest priority.
Your friends – Having good friends is important and can bring great satisfaction, but still not number one.
Your financial health – Probably given more importance than it deserves.
Your extended family – Important, but number one, nope.
Your wellness and physical health – Need to pay attention, source of energy and vitality.
Your Faith or Spiritual life – Up there for sure, source of contentment, hope and faith.
Your partner or kids – Getting closer, definitely important and likely very high on the list.
So if all of those are not number one – What is?
Well – it’s you. You = #1 priority
Intuitive – not likely. It’s simple in some ways, but prioritizing yourself is usually not the default mindset. Even to think or say it feels selfish.
If you are not prioritizing yourself – then how do you effectively serve all the areas in your life? How do you know what is important and what is not?
If you are mindlessly going about your day, spending most of your time reacting to what others want, is that serving others?
It can feel that way, it can even feel really good, knocking out what others need, but is that what you need?
I have fallen into that trap way too many times.
So, what does it look like to prioritize yourself? What does it mean to make the business of you, your #1 priority?
All of these big areas of life are inter-connected. You go overboard in one area and that can have dire consequences on all other aspects of your life. (Yes I realize there are times specific areas need more focus and attention than others and balancing all of this can be challenging. But keep reading, it is easier if you get clear on you, your desires and your values.)
An area we hear this alot, especially from men, is in the career arena. Your career can be a great source of pride, achievement and satisfaction or it can literally kill you.
We fall into the trap of believing we have to move up the corporate ladder, at times compromising so many aspects of our life. The common thought is that career success will provide for your family, give yourself great satisfaction and maybe even a high status with friends. All of that can be true to some extent, but it can take a toll. Especially if your career is a source of frustration or if it requires so much time you are neglecting your partner or kids in the name of career achievement. We haven’t even touched on the adverse health and overall wellbeing impacts, which can be significant.
And don’t even get me started if you are in a career you figured out long ago is not working, but have done nothing to change the situation.
Actually, I think I will get started.
See, if you are ignoring the fact that you are misplaced in your current career and have a desire to make a larger more meaningful impact in the world or even hate going to work every-day,
you need to ask,
Is that serving me well? What is the impact on others if continue to work a job that gives you money, yes, but not much else? How are you showing up at home or other environments?
If you are ignoring the fact that you are trapped in a high paying job you tolerate because you have a crushing debt load, is that serving you well? What impact is that having on you and others?
If you have a big dream or desire and have not taken any steps to pursue due to lack of energy because your day job is wearing you out, well what does that say about the importance of your desires and dreams?
I know some of these are tough situations to face. Some of you may think I am going overboard, but I would ask,
Do any these scenarios feel like you are your number one priority?
I have lived many of the situations described above and they can be paralyzing, frustrating and challenging, to the point of giving up on any hope of changing. Our first response to solving these problems is to go do something, because sometimes doing anything feels better than staying stuck. This really does not work without first taking the time to understand where you want to go.
Why don’t people prioritize themselves?
Because they have not taken the time to answer the following:
What do I want?
What do I want out of my life?
What do I want out of my career? What career/work would bring fulfillment and pay the bills?
What do I want out of my family life? What kind of relationship do I want with my significant other? What kind of relationship do I want with my kids?
What do I love to do and how do I do more of that?
What do I want for my health?
What do I want for my finances?
What are my core values? How do I live them out more on a daily basis?
See, most people don’t live with intention. They don’t carefully examine what they want or need and as a result they don’t intentionally pursue what would serve them best.
They go with the flow. They go with what society says is acceptable. Others inflict their values onto them. They make decisions based on what others expect.
So, first things first – get clear about what you want? Not how or when or who.
What? And then get clear on Why?
What and Why?
Start there to get clear about what is important to you and why. Without that, spending time on action plans or to do lists are not going to be useful if you do not have some principles and desires as a guiding light. Don’t run crazy, run smart!
What is one thing you can do tomorrow that would prioritize yourself, lift your mood and have a significant impact on your ability to tackle these questions?
Exercise and physical activity. Make it a non-negotiable item on your calendar and go do it. You don’t have to go run a marathon, just a 30-45 minute walk can do wonders.