“I have priorities I can’t seem to get to. What’s that all about?” she asked. I nodded wisely because I really enjoy that, and people seem to expect it. I’ve found that when I giggle at serious questions, people get all testy. So I chose the sagacious treatment and said:
“The deal with priorities is this: if it doesn’t feel urgent, it’s not a priority. If you don’t wanna, you’re not gonna. When there’s no urgency, it’s more like a dream, or a goal, or an idea.”
I wrote about this a few years ago — You Gotta Wanna. When you really, really wanna, you really, really will. Honest. Nothing will get in your way. Not even those chirping chronic excuse magpies — no time, no money, no knowledge — will stand in your way.
If you wanna, you will. And that’s what makes a priority.
To illustrate this point, let me turn to that classic book of literature He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (which I happen to own in the hardcover first edition, by the way). To quote Liz quoting Greg: “…if a (sane) guy really likes you, there ain’t nothing that’s going to get in his way.” Greg also says, “When a guy is into you, he lets you know it. He calls, he shows up, he wants to meet your friends, he can’t keep his eyes or hands off of you…”
Exactly. There’s a sense of urgency. Of keen interest. Of priority.
Feeling murky on your own priorities? Or, worse, paying lip service to something that never seems to get done (like, for instance, any sentence you start with, “One of these days, I’m going to…”)?
Maybe you just need to get clear on your priorities. How? Cinchy. All you need to know is this: Where you put your time reveals your true priorities.
So, think about it. Where are you spending your time?
What does that tell you about your real priorities?
Sure, your priorities at the moment might be chasing toddlers, or monitoring teen driving habits, or taking care of an ill parent. That’s the reality of the moment for many of us.
Why not just own that? Rather than beating yourself up for not getting your website up, or for not losing 30 pounds, or not finding the elusive cure for cancer while operating the lunar rover and simultaneously conducting the London Symphony. You know, the usual lofty expectations we have for our own performance.
Aren’t we supposed to aim high? Live big? I dunno. What feels big for me might feel minuscule to you, and vice versa. That’s why I never feel comfortable arguing with someone else about their priorities. We’re each the expert on our own lives and priorities that come with shoulds (as in, “You really should…”) put someone else in the expert’s chair. We end up serving their priorities, rather than our own.
One thing I know for sure — priorities certainly can be aspirational. I have a priority to be a good enough mother. I know, shooting really high with that “good enough”. But in the moments when I find myself less-than-present, I can say, “Michele, you have a priority around parenting — snap out of it and serve your priority, kiddo.” And I do.
Because I really wanna be a good enough mother. Don’t have to be a super-mom, or a cover-girl mom. I especially don’t have to be a perfect mom. Lord knows that’s an impossible, losing objective. And a whole other blog post.
When you are clear on your priorities and line up your time, attention and energy behind them, I am here to tell you — nothing will stand in your way. Whatever you want to accomplish, you will. You will be the proverbial hot knife through butter, my friend, and you will find that the thing you are really into is… your own success.