“In the end, there can be only one.”
The word “priorities” rose from obscurity about 50 years ago, and by definition of the root word “priority” we are fooling ourselves to think that we can be focused on more than one important thing at a time. A true priority will consume 100% of our resources at any given time.
- The quality of being earlier or coming first compared to another thing; the state of being prior. In bankruptcy law, a business’ debt to its employees has priority over its debt to a landlord, so the employees must be paid first.
When it comes to how you use your time, you are always paying somebody first. You can only make eye contact, or mental contact, and a genuine deep connection, with one person at a time. It’s not something you can multi-task.
Be a single-tasker.
I have shared many thoughts on managing relationships. Relationships with clients, referral partners, lenders, staff, and the world at large. Let’s talk about something truly important; let’s address the most important relationship you’ve got, not the one with your parents, your partner, or even your children. Ask any airline flight attendant and they will back me up on the suggestion that the most important relationship you have is the one with yourself— after all, in the event of an emergency, who do you place the oxygen mask on first?
If you do not take care of yourself first, you cannot take care of anyone else. Have I felt guilt for going to the gym at 6pm on my way home from work, or heading to a Bikram class at 10am on a Sunday morning, or just getting out for an hour’s walk or a ride in the woods? Yes, I have. We all have so many other responsibilities to so many other people.
But if we do not stay fit and healthy, mentally fresh and sharp, then how will we serve these people? We will serve them poorly, they will get a subpar version of our “best.”
Relationships are built much the same way anything worth building is, one building block at a time. A body is built one rep at a time, a brain is built one experience at a time, a career is built one deal (yes I said deal!) at a time. It all begins with a foundation of constant space repetition.
Constant Spaced Repetition
Don’t skip reps, especially when it comes to building your foundation, because everything else in your life is supported by these four walls, the four walls of your foundation.
Brick by brick.
The four walls represent:
- Spiritual/Mental Health
- Physical Health
- Social Relationships – Family & Friends
- Business/Career Stability
Any foundation can be destroyed by any number of forces:
- Wrecking ball
Random things do happen; accidents, health issues, divorce, etc., hitting one or more walls at the same time. How we react to them dictates the real outcome. Not the event itself.
Often these four walls are dismantled brick by brick by the very person who built them in the first place, through long term purposeful neglect. Think of the fifty-something high school ball player now carrying an extra hundred pounds, gained at a pace of just 3lbs per year.
In the past I’ve spoken about how each file you process is a brick in your foundation. With each successful file being the equivalent of a brick, and each failed file being the mortar that holds the bricks together.
Every single additional file that you choose to work after say 6pm is a brick in your business wall. But it’s not a fresh brick, you’ve run out of those after 10−12 hrs in the office. No, it’s almost certainly a brick stolen from another of life’s foundations; personal relationships or personal health to name the two most vulnerable.
Before long your four walls may be looking like those of an old Western storefront. One wall painted brightly, rising up twenty or thirty feet like a manufactured peacock’s tail saying “look at me.” We see these people as the #1 salesperson, month after month, year after year, with a wall of awards, or as the ripped six-pack bodybuilder, or as the super-parent that shows up for every single school activity, fi eld trip, and committee. But what do those other three walls look like?
In nearly every case, a peek behind the tallest wall will show us three others in need of love and attention.
Think on this.