Priorities. Focus is talked about a lot in the work world. I have even talked about it. But without priorities, you don't know what to focus on.
We lost arguably one of the most successful restaurant owners in US history Monday when Truett Cathy passed away. Putting aside any politics or viewpoints people have that may coincide or clash with the company, we can all agree that he grew a successful business and helped a lot of people along the way. He was quoted as often saying:
“I’d like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing word, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed."
Truett Cathy's priorities helped guide all of his decision making. He wasn't in the chicken business purely to get rich. He got into the chicken business as a way to serve people. Cathy's main focus was to be able to help improve the lives of people in his community. Selling great chicken sandwiches was a way that helped him accomplish that mission.
Even without the billions he made over a lifetime, he would have still been considered a successful person because he always stayed true to his own personal mission. He kept his priorities in order throughout his entire life.
When we establish what our priorities in life are, we will know what to focus on and make better decisions. Does setting your mind to only a few things restrict your lifestyle. Not at all! I would argue that the opposite is true
Focus is liberating.
Our agency founder Mark DeMoss talks about "staying under the umbrella" in his book The Little Red Book of Wisdom. In there, he talks about staying true to your mission no matter the cost or intriguing distraction that comes your way. In the book he's quoted as saying:
Even Mission Drift, a book I read not long ago, talks about how organizations that stay focused on their one mission are the ones that have the best longevity and success. Neglecting priorities are an easy way to run off course.
Easier said than done
Being completely honest with yourself and nailing down what your priorities are (or at least what you feel they should be) isn't the easiest thing in the world. I'm still trying to nail what my own goals are in many ways. But I'm learning that setting basic priorities is the easiest way to stay on task.
Determining our priorities is how we establish our own personal metrics of success. Not what most of the world considers success, but what success in life means to us individually. Success won't look the same to all of us - but knowing what it does look like is a significant first step in the right direction.
What are you focusing on?