Each one of us have priorities and goals. They drive what we do and why. We may not realize we do, but they exist. What are the differences, why are they important, and how are they related?
Our priorities are what is most important to us, and we (must) follow them. They are a guide – more of a strict set of rules, if you will. Priorities are just that, priorities. They should be set in a clear order. Our first priority is just that, number one in our lives. Then move on down the line. If we place something in front of our priorities, any of them, then they do not align with who we are – or our priorities are not truly a priority.
I, like most of us, struggle in this area. This is partly why I am posting this. You see, I have a list of priorities and goals (listed at the end of this article), and I strive to achieve my goals regularly. But, sometimes (often?) I re-align my priorities or goals to meet some other objective. This, then, shows me my priorities are not in the right order – so they are not really a priority.
Priorities are our focus points that ensure we are working purposefully live our lives and achieve our goals. There is a saying that if it isn’t a complete and solid yes, then it must be a whole-hearted no. Why? If you cannot completely agree to do it, if it does not align with your priorities, then you must not entertain it, as this will mess with your priorities, your goals, and ultimately your life. You, your family, your business – your life – will ultimately suffer as a result. With that, if you are married or in a relationship, make sure you and your significant other are on the same page with your priorities and goals. If you are not in sync, your relationship will inevitably fail.
Our goals are what we strive to achieve. Goals may be personal (what we want for ourselves), professional (what we want to accomplish in our careers, businesses, etc. – both for us and our organizations), or family and friend focused (what we would like to do for others). This is not an all-inclusive list, but should get the idea across – our goals are something to attain.
Many businesses or non-profits have missions, visions, and goals, and so do individuals. Most of us have personal or family-focused goals like becoming financially independent, have a healthy marriage, raise successful and happy children, and so on. Some of these we may not even realize they are goals. Just think of what you want to possess, be, achieve… these are your goals. The question you – we – must ask is, are they important and do they align with our priorities.
How are goals and priorities connected?
First, define your priorities. What is most important in your life? List them. I have identified my five priorities, but you can have more or less. The idea here is to understand who you are, what you believe, and hold yourself accountable to them.
Second, identify your goals. These can be life goals, 5-year goals, family goals… whatever goal(s) you want to set. But they need to be something that will take time and effort to achieve. If they can be completed in a few days, weeks, or even months, chances are they are more of a to-do list item. These can change over time, as you accomplish them, as life changes, as you get older, etc. The point is, they should be something you strive and work for over a long period of time.
Last, a story. I used to play Monopoly with my family (oh-so seldom). My wife calls the game the “family fighting game”. Why? Because at some point, someone gains the upper-hand, owns the right properties, and leverages this against another. Sure, this is the point, but a fight ensues. Then, we change the rules (or we just didn't follow them to begin with). We start negotiating to gain or trade properties. But, we certainly didn't do it fairly. Instead of mortgaging the hotels, houses, then the properties, we began selling them just to stay in the game and hope we land on the right spot – but usually the person buying them would give some outrageous price and just own the board. Or, for example, we would agree that if my son owned a property, and gave my daughter “X” amount of monopoly money, that he would not have to pay her the landing-fees for 5 turns around the board. Thus, she could never increase her Monopoly cash stash. In the end, she loses (or I do, because that’s just how it works), and the fight begins – or continues.
They point to this story is to act in an ethical and moral manner. Following your priorities to achieve your goal is no simple task. Taking shortcuts may seem like the easy route, but it will eventually lead to devastation and destruction. We must keep our priorities in line as we strive to reach our goals, in an ethical and moral manner. Otherwise, what is the point.
Below are my priorities and goals. Feel free to use them as a guide. Another suggestion I heard on a podcast recently (sorry, I don’t recall which podcast), was to create a page on your website, visible to only those that have the URL, and save it as your browser home page. That way, anytime you open a new web page, you see your priorities and goals. Here is my oh so “secret” priorities and goals page - Jared's Priorities and Goals. You can also create a screen saver, background, printed copy hung next to your computer… whatever it takes to remind and keep you focused on them both.
What’s the point? This acts a constant reminder to you, of what your priorities and goals are. Does what you are about to search for or do on the internet align with your priorities and contribute to the achievement of your goals? If not, then why are you there?
Ultimately, your priorities and goals should complement each other, not take away from one or another. They should work in a symbiotic relationship towards meeting your goals while keeping in line with your priorities.
A little bit more about your priorities and goals.
My priorities and goals
Until next time…