Doing What Matters is my new tagline for my company. It fits the clients I work with because we’re all trying to do what matters. We all have long lists and want the crazy of our lives to be headed somewhere. As individuals and organizations, we have got to start taking a look at our lists and asking some questions to determine our priorities.
I was recently asked to be on a panel of women leaders. One of the questions was – When have you ever felt that you were doing too much and had to stop to reassess what your priorities were? This made me laugh because I have been doing too much for most of my career. There are several reasons for that, and as I look back, I can see that I created much of my crazy!
First, I had a limiting belief that I was not good enough. You have all heard me say this before. I believe we all share this belief to some extent, but today I am only speaking for me. That belief meant I had to say yes to everything and to do it better than anyone else. I had to keep all of the plates spinning at all times. Think of how exhausting that sounds. All of that activity somehow kept the small voice in my head quiet for a little while, until I dropped a plate or made a mistake, and then the voice was yelling at me again.
Second, I never had my own priorities. Yours were just as important to me as mine. If you needed my help, I was right there for you. I felt proud that other people needed me. But, at the end of the day, all of your work got done and I was still there cringing over my unfinished task list.
Third, I had never learned to say “no” with grace. If I ever said “no” to any request for my time and energy, I added on a lie too – my aunt had just died, my family was having a reunion – whatever I could think of to get out of something instead of saying the truth. “I can’t help with that project at this time,” would have been enough to say. You have to pick who you can say no to. But, I bet there are times you are asked to take on something in your life and work – that you could say no to – but don’t. We don’t say no because we’re afraid people won’t like us, or they will think we don’t have it all together if we are too stressed to take on anything else. Whatever the reason, we allow others to own our priorities.
Doing what matters requires us to take inventory of that list and to prioritize it with a few key questions. And then to make sure that you get your A items done every day. B’s and C’s will always get done. It is the A’s that keep us up at night.
Questions to ask in order to Do What Matters:
- Does this need to be done this week?
- Is it mine to do? Can you delegate it? Can you hire someone to do it?
- Can I reasonably get these A items done this week looking at my calendar?
- And, the most powerful part of doing what matters, is then putting you on your list. Dinner with your husband, exercise, friendships, spiritual practices. These need to be scheduled.
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