Our #1 Priority That Never Makes It on Our To-Do List

09/25/2023 06:56:21 +0000

Photo by Jeremy Lapak on Unsplash


I reckon there are some things that you want to achieve....and for the life of you, you just can't get it done. It is possibly the most important thing in your life, your number 1 priority, but you have a block. That block may be due to fear, lack of confidence, lack of clarity, or perhaps it's simply not the burning platform that you're faced with at the moment.

Therein lies the problem

The things that are most important to us are generally long term pursuits. They aren't things that we can turn on in that moment of inspiration or motivation. They take time and consistent effort to make happen. Conversely, we live in a world of constant crunch time, where we are either faced with an urgent deadline or milestone, a fire has started that you need to put out, or a people issue that needs our urgent attention. So it is easy to become distracted by these things and move them to the top of our list. It's Dr Covey's 'Important/Urgent' quadrant model at play.

Where I have really struggled

I know that I want to be fit and healthy because that's when I'm at my absolute best: I feel good within myself, I look good (I think!) and it shows in my interactions. I've no doubt it has a direct impact on my performance, too. I know this, because I've been there and done it. When I'm in that mode I have the mindset to give everything I have at work, and it shows. But I'm not there now. I'm fine....but I'm not there. And I want to be there. Desperately. Not only because I know that's when I'm firing, not because I know I can do it, but I want to be a positive role model to my girls when it comes to consistent nutrition and movement. I don't want them to ever worry about their body, nor do I want them obsessed about their food or exercise. I want them to have a healthy relationship with all of those things. In case you can't tell, this is a little bit important to me. But boy, I have really struggled to regain momentum. For me, like a lot of other female friends and clients, it's a cycle. When you gain momentum, you get into flow. But when one wheel falls off, so quickly follows the rest.

Knowledge is not everything

For me, I prefer to exercise in the morning. I know that it clears mind and energises my body and puts me into the winner's state. It's key. But I have struggled to make that happen. If I had a dollar for every time I hit snooze, for every time I said to a friend, 'I need to start running again', for every time my calendar pinged 'Run' and I hit dismiss, I'd be rich. I have an abundance of facts and previous experiences available to me that prove I can do it...and yet I still don't do anything about it.

Something has to change

Not only do I personally experience this, but I often find this with my clients. They have a deep urge to achieve something, whether they can articulate it precisely or not, it doesn't matter. They have a rumbling in their gut that sits unfulfilled...and it's big and impactful. But the reason we let it sit and simmer there like indigestion is that we are so focused on helping others, we tell ourselves 'shhh...it's not our turn, we need to help them'. It is in our DNA, we are the nurturers, we take care of others. Whether it be on a relational level, where we focus on team cohesion, or an individual on your team who needs some more attention, or it might be taking on that extra work and doing the non-stop late hours to make sure that we hit the numbers or deadlines. We have a tendency to prioritise others' needs over our own...for example, going to the gym, catching up with our friends, having time to meet a life partner... so much so, that we choose to ignore the mild pain. In service is not being a servant! I say that line a lot in my keynotes and workshops. I believe that we all want the best for our people, our clients, our leaders, our organisations. But we spend so much time tripping over ourselves helping other people that we forget about ourselves in the process. Inadvertently, we under value ourselves, ignoring our own needs, wants and aspirations. But if we want to be of full service to others, we need to be at our best and invest the time to find the solution that works for us.

I had to get real

Doing what I do, I need to walk the talk. So I had to look at myself front on and really commit to myself that health was a priority and do something different.

I used my 'in service mindset' to help If I couldn't commit to myself, I knew I would commit if someone else was depending on me. Group training and personal training hadn't worked, so I decided to sign-up and be a running coach. I became an accredited run leader and signed up with a running company. Then I thought, 'oh sh!t, if I'm going to be teaching running, I'd better be prepared!' and started running again in the mornings. Simple as that. Because as a coach, if I'm going to be truly in service to my clients, I need to practice what I preach. And with that, I start with my first running group this Friday. I can't wait!! What important stuff do you want to make happen? What are the blocks you face? How can you approach it differently? What is the one step you can take right now that will move you towards making it happen?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this one!

Author: Alena Bennett

Alena works with leaders and their teams to connect technical and leadership skills so they can deliver to deadline without killing their people.
She is a mentor, trainer, facilitator and coach. Contact her today on [email protected]
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