A Tiny Bit Better Prioritized

Today I was enjoying some time with my daughter, the older one who will be leaving for college in just a few months, and I looked over to the side table and noticed a couple books sitting there. Normally seeing two books sitting on the table wouldn’t be a big deal, but today it caused me a HUGE twinge of anxiety around the idea of not completing my planned reading activities because I was sitting there enjoying time with my daughter.

I’ve decided 2013 is all about examining and changing beliefs that don’t work, so I took a moment to notice the anxiety feeling and think about it a little bit.

On the one hand, I do have a daily “checklist” of things I “need” to do in order to make progress this year. On the other hand, I don’t get all the time in the world with my daughter AND she’s about to leave for college in a few months.

So, I thought about it in terms of what’s most important to me. Yes, I actually had to pause and make myself think about this. Why would I share such an embarrassing detail? Because I am totally convinced I’m not the only one who has fallen into the trap of thinking I should be pursuing my “goals” at all costs. I’m positive I’m not the only dad who felt a pull between what he “should” do and what he “could” do. I believe with all my heart that the self-development “industry” has taken great pains to teach us how to accomplish more and more each day, week, month, and year.

BUT…there has been precious little time spent in helping us remember that our relationships trump the accomplishments and achievements – hands down, no doubts. Yes, it’s embarrassing that I would have to pause a few seconds and think of this.

But, it’s also tremendously liberating to be able to learn for myself that it’s OK – even better and more important, in fact – to put first things first.

And so my daughter and I enjoyed her show together and my books just sat there. I’ll read a little later, when there’s no “demand” on my time. And if not…that’s OK too. There is NO reason I should be held hostage to a checklist or plan. Especially when more important opportunities come along.

How about you? Have you ever felt this type of conflict between the “important” and the IMPORTANT? What did you do?



  1. Greg — very honest, perceptive post about a very common problem — in fact, you might as well have been describing me! Read a couple years ago about a happiness study that followed a group of Harvard grads over decades. In the end, the happiest ones were those with the best relationships. Thanks for reinforcing that point here.

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