I once read a book called First Things First, by Stephen Covey. That phrase, “first things first,” prompted a lot of thought for me a little while ago, at a time when I was making some big business decisions. These decisions had a big impact on me, on my employees and associates, on my family, and on my life as a whole. While not earth-shattering decisions, per se, these decisions were determining how I would be spending my time for the foreseeable future. Thus, they needed to be grounded on principles. I needed to know what things in life were most important to me, and make my decisions to help me achieve those ends.
You’ve heard me say many times that one of my main motivators is the ability to do what I want, when I want, where I want, with whom I want, because I want. I don’t like being confined to a strict schedule or trapped by an all-consuming job. I enjoy the ability I have to teach and coach others. I enjoy the freedom to go to lunch for two hours at a local pizza parlor without having to answer to a boss for my time. This vision determines the direction I take in virtually every decision I make.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I decide that I’m just going to go out and quit my job so I can be free of responsibility. I can’t go out and do what I want to do if I don’t have money to do it; there has to be balance here. Similarly, I’m not going to stay home all day and play catch with my son because “family comes first.” The important thing here is that we look not just at the short term, but also the long-term effects of our decisions. Look at the bigger picture. Is what you’re doing helping you to achieve your goals long-term, or does it tend toward short-term gratification only? As you make decisions that help you in the long-term, you will be putting first things first.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: