Looking after the rocks first … or mindful priority-setting

The following story is one that’s been circulating for a while. It holds a very important message regarding setting priorities in our lives – whether we are business owners or not:
A professor of philosophy stood before his class with some items in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a large glass jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was full.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and watched as the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The professor then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They laughed and agreed that it was indeed full this time.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled the remaining open areas of the jar. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar signifies your life. The rocks are the truly important things, such as family, health and relationships. If all else was lost and only the rocks remained, your life would still be meaningful. The pebbles are the other things that matter in your life, such as work or school. The sand signifies the remaining “small stuff” and material possessions.
If you put sand into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks or the pebbles. The same can be applied to your lives. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important.

Take care of the rocks first – things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand.

Even if this story is not new to you, let it trigger a reminder that the rocks really do matter. You can label the glass jar “My working day”, “My business” or “My life in general” and decide on the priorities (rocks) for each one. Just like Diane Keaton had a jar of white pebbles on her desk in the film “Something’s gotta give” (appropriately named film in this case!) you can even use a real jar and real stones as an ornamental and subtle reminder to make time for what really matters in life.

Source used for re-telling the pebble story with grateful thanks:
http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=264&page=2

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My New Year mindset

First of all a very Happy New Year to you, loyal blog reader, and all the very best for the coming 12 months!

A lot is being written on the subject of resolutions and goals at the moment, as the beginning of a new year is always the perfect time to harness the dynamic of change. Now that the Christmas decorations have been put away, the last of the party food consumed and normal work begins again in earnest, we are all filled with good intentions to make 2014 our best year yet.

For a positive momentum this January, I would like to share some tips with you from one of my favourite gurus, Robin Sharma. For a successful start to 2014, Robin recommends the following points which I have summarized here:

1) Protect your mindset
Everything begins with belief. Believe you can make this your best year yet. Clean out all toxic influences that diminish your happiness such as unhealthy TV (e.g. watching depressing new stories last thing at night) and remove yourself from toxic people who don’t make you feel good about yourself, whilst surrounding yourself with excellent ones. Spend time on doing things that matter and elevate you.

2) Prepare to win the night before
Develop a nightly ritual of 30 minutes in which you plan your next day. Then, in your journal, write the top 3 lessons your day has taught you and then list 3 positive things that happened to you that day. End your day with gratitude.

3) Focus on your single biggest opportunity for the first 90 days.
Decide to focus on being great at one thing rather than just good at many for the first 3 months of this year.
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So, just as Louise Hay says “How you start your day is how you live your day”, I firmly believe that how you start your year also determines how things will go for you in the time to come, i.e. whether you are choosing to live by design or default.
I hope some of the above tips resonate with you. Have a wonderful 2014 and see you again soon.

Make ‘em to break ‘em? On New Year’s Resolutions for you and your business…

As a trainer, I am accustomed to hearing my students cry: “I never make New Year’s resolutions. Ask me another question, instead!” When I ask them “Why not?”, they usually say “Well, I can change any time I want. If I want to change then I will.”

O.K. It’s a free country (so far).  If, however, like me you’re one of those people who likes to use milestones and measuring sticks then you probably feel that urge to write down a few goals every time Big Ben strikes 12 and the champagne corks start popping.

 If you run your own business you will be used to thinking in terms of short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. Why not use New Year as a time to focus on how you, the entrepreneur, can further your own growth this year? What new stuff can you learn? What needs to be changed, to make you a happier and more positive person (thus attracting a happier and more positive working environment, of course)?

 In the past 10 days I have been reading a lot of different people’s lists of goals and resolutions for 2013 and I would like to share with you my favourite five here. Hope you find one or two that appeal to you.

1) To be grateful for one thing every day

2) To celebrate small wins when they occur, alone or with my team.

3) To inspire 1 person a day.

4) To learn something new for an hour a day, no matter what it is.

5) Spend the first 90 minutes of each working day on real work (the stuff I like to avoid) rather than fake work and displacement activities

Good luck!

P.S. Going to be giving my blog a face-lift soon, plus adding details of some awards I am excited to have received…

So Watch This Space…

 Take care, Louise