Pay Attention to the Big Rocks

On my early morning walk, I was thinking about the “big rocks” in my life at the moment.

The “big rocks” is a term the late Stephen R. Covey uses to describe our most important values and goals. We don’t prioritize our schedule, but rather, schedule our priorities: the big rocks.

We can be distracted by the little pebbles that call for our attention daily: the social media ping, the robocall, checking sports scores, etc. Soon we find that the pebbles have filled our day and we have no energy left to tackle the big rocks.

So, we start with the big rocks first.

I’ve discovered that our big rocks can change depending on the season of our life. Right now, my big rocks are my calling in life and how I envision it unfolding in the future; nurturing my relationships that are blooming; my adventure plans for the next 6 months; and my continued growth and development as a writer. The rest are pebbles that I may or may not get to by the end of the day. If I don’t, it’s okay because I have paid attention to what is most important.

I’ve also discovered that some of the big rocks are more important than others. I value my relationship with myself, God, and others. My Christian faith guides me to love God with all of my being and to love my neighbor as I love myself. Those are the rocks that I spend the most time and energy polishing. The essence of any growing relationship is being one of the other person’s big rocks. Relationships die when they are no longer big rocks.  

Summer is a great time to evaluate where we are spending our time and energy.

What are your big rocks?

What are the pebbles that you are giving your one and only life to?

Getting clear on the big rocks results in a life well-lived and full of joy.

You can see Stephen Covey’s classic illustration of the big rocks concept here: https://resources.franklincovey.com/the-8th-habit/big-rocks-stephen-r-covey

Photo by Tina Nord from Pexels

Monday Quick Tip ~ Live the Golden Rule

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Do unto others, what you would have them do unto you – Jesus

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ― Maya Angelou

This quote from Maya Angelou has been running through my head a lot lately.  It applies in many arenas of life.

Much of leadership is how we make people feel.

We inspire, encourage and correct.

I will never forget a time when I was going through a rough patch while in graduate school.  Finances were limited, my course load was increasing, people I loved were having relational issues that were affecting the entire family and I was 1600 miles from home.  I felt as if I was facing these challenges all alone.

Jay KeslerJay Kesler, the then President of Taylor University, was visiting campus for some speaking engagements.  I was hurriedly going from one class to the next.  I saw Dr. Kesler coming towards me on the sidewalk.  He was by himself.  As he saw me, his face lit up with a magnificent smile and he said, “Hello, how are you today?” I returned the smile and said, “Fine, thank you.”  Of course, I wasn’t fine given the circumstances, but that day, the load seemed a little lighter.  I don’t remember any of his lectures on campus.  But to this day, I remember the sidewalk encounter and how it made me feel.  I felt that I was not alone.  An easy thing to do that had powerful impact.

Sometimes leadership is not about budgets and vision and grandiose schemes.

Sometimes, leadership is a smile on a sidewalk to a fellow human being.

Monday Quick Tip ~ Take Stock of What Matters

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There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven…

 A time to plant and a time to uproot.  Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2b

My current leadership responsibilities include helping the organization I lead to take stock of how it is doing in light of the current reality.  To do that, we are closely examining our programs and people.

I’ve been thinking about what is important and what isn’t important in the life of the organization I lead.  I’m challenging the organization with the questions found in Peter Drucker’s small yet powerful read, The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization. Here are the 5 questions:

  • What is our mission?
  • Who is our customer?
  • What does the customer value?
  • What are our results?
  • What is our plan?

The questions get to the heart of what is most important.  Not a bad thing to examine, both in organizations and in our personal life.

Answering the questions lead us to make some decisions about what to uproot and what to plant.  They help us move forward in why we are here.

The beauty of the questions is that they also apply to our personal relationships.  Our mission in life is to be as loving as possible.

Our “customer” is our friends and family.

Our friends and family value time with us, laughing, having fun, and sharing great experiences.

The result is ever deepening and more meaningful relationships.

So what is your plan to build the relationship with those who love you most?

Loss of relationships can come swiftly and unexpectedly.  All the success in business can’t make up for the time we lost with those we love most.

Build relationships and the rest will take care of itself.