3 Steps to Setting Your Priorities

Many of us want to do it all, and for some of us, do it all perfectly.  I have been squarely in this camp in the past, and work every day to keep from returning.  I definitely slip from time to time, and my natural tendencies take over landing me on the corner of Do It All and Do It Perfectly. There are, however, ways to break the cycle allowing you to honor who you choose to be versus who you feel pressured to be.

  1. Identify Your Values: What is it that you hold dear and fiercely protect?  Your values are your ways of being that are imperative to you.  Examples are authenticity, integrity, spirituality, honesty, compassion, and the list goes on.  Values are fairly stable, but can change as you move through life.  What you held dear before a family may change after a child is born.  When we honor our values, we are in alignment with our true self.  Take time to identify up to 10 values that you hold dear. Knowing your personal values is critical to the choices you make in your life.
  2. Create a Vision for Yourself: Visioning sets you in forward motion, and gives you direction. It is not a rigid plan, and it is meant to be flexible, and allow exploration. Think about what truly inspires you, and those areas in your life where your passion shines.  Creating a personal vision statement does take introspection, so give this step some time.  A fun way to get started is to think about what brings you joy.  There are often a lot of golden nuggets to mine in the activities that bring us personal joy. When you are ready to put pen to paper, use the following model by William Arruda, author of Ditch, Dare, Do: 3D Personal Branding for Executives to get your thoughts organized:

    The value you create + who you’re creating it for + the expected outcome

  3. Learn to Say No: Many of us feel a lot of guilt saying no.  Afterall, if someone has asked us to do something, they likely need our help or want our talents.  Learning to say no is one of life’s tougher lessons.  Knowing your values, and having a personal vision for yourself makes it a whole heck of a lot easier.  For me, family time is critical.  We don’t need to engage is some ceremonial event, but spending time as a family is important to me, and shows up on my list of values.  There are times I travel for work so when I get home, my first priority is my family.  That means I say no to time with friends or other activities that do not include my family.  I don’t feel guilty about this decision since I am honoring what matters most to me versus trying to be everything to everyone.

    When we get clear on what really matters, we align ourselves.  We say yes to the activities that personally matter to us, and congruency becomes our native land.

Bringing It All Together

We are pulled in many directions, and often cannot do it all.  Learning to set your personal priorities is easier when you identify what’s important to you, develop a vision for yourself, and learn to say no to the requests that don’t honor you, who you are, and who you are becoming.


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