WHAT MATTERS MOST?
©John L. Mariotti 2012
This holiday season, I want to share with YOU the thoughts from the first half of a speech that was never made. Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to lack of attendance—because of the current troubled economic times—and the pressure on overloaded workers and productivity crunches.
Never-the-less, this is a message that I want everyone to have during this holiday season. Times are tough. The pressure is on, in so many ways. Take a few minutes and read these brief questions. Then think really hard about YOUR answers to them. I believe you will start the New Year with a whole different set of priorities if you do this.
>>>What matters most, in your life? Think hard. Is it…?
Your Loved Ones?
—Or you—as a person?
Your Health & Well-Being?
>>>Which of these matters most?
Sure, they are all important, but when “push comes to shove” and you must choose among competing “important” parts of your life, what will you choose to favor over the others? Now hold that thought and let’s “shift gears.”
What matters most in your work?
Don’t say “all of them.” That’s a “cop out!” Certainly prioritizing and doing well in some of them leads to success in others, but what order of importance do you assign to them. What matters most?? Consider this bit of wisdom, I first heard from Stephen Covey. (Author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People): “So often we climb the ladder of success without ever checking to see if it is leaning against the right wall.”
Now, think again. What matters most? It’s hard to choose, but if you don’t think about it, the urgent will push out the important, and whether that leads you to "what matters most" is questionable.
>>>What about your happiness? What is happiness anyway? Can you even describe it?
TRY! (Hint: it’s not about material possessions!)
When Was The Last Time You Were Really Happy?
What Were You Doing?
With Whom? Where?
Why Did That Make You Happy?
>>>What matters most? (That made you happy?) Take a couple of minutes & think hard
On your deathbed will you say, “I wish I’d spent more time in the office!”? Also consider whether you “work to live, or live to work?” That’s not a trivial question. Think about it.
What matters most is sometimes best considered from the perspective of others.
Who Really Cares About You?
Who Is There For You When You Really Need Them?
And Who Isn’t?
Who Are You Really There For?
And Who Are You Not There For Enough?
Remember, “Don’t apologize or make excuses, because those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind, don’t matter.” I don’t know who said that first, but it sure is true most of the time.
Now we are back where we started. What matters most—in your life? That answer—or series of answers—should be the guide you use to set your priorities. Setting priorities is among the hardest thing in life and in work! It’s so easy to say, and so hard to do, especially if you decide you want to “enjoy true happiness” and “satisfaction” as a result of your choices.
Click on this audio attachment and listen to it. The message is profound! Think about it.
(It is Harry Chapin's song, "Cat's in the Cradle")
I can’t tell you the "right" answers (for you), but if you’ve read this far, you are starting to come up with some of them. There’s no “Undo” button when your kids are growing up—miss that and it's gone. You get a short time with them, and then they are out on their own. There is no "do over" for time spent away from family and loved ones--even on "important business." There is no “Pause” button or “Rewind and Replay” when a loved one is afflicted with a serious (or terminal) illness—or if they are involved in a tragic, fatal accident. At those awful times, the issue of “what matters most” is often clearer than it had ever been before—and it may be too late.
Take the time now, in this Holiday season and starting New Year to think about, and then choose, what matters most; what comes first, second & what must be dropped off the list, because compared to the other things, it matters almost not at all? Once you decide on those priorities—on “what matters most,” then you must take action? Live for what matters most. Think about it every time you have a decision to make. Then make the right decision—do the right thing—because nothing different happens until you do!
When you consider “what matters most,“ and “get that right” you will improve your life—and be happier and more successful in your work. Hopefully, when you have thought about what “happiness” really is, and really means, you will find it too.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…and may God bless you and yours this holiday season.