Archive for July 8th, 2009

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” [Stephen R. Covey].

What is your “main thing”? You have a “main thing,” don’t you?

I see a lot of people rushing around from this project to that task, putting out fires and basically running themselves into a frenzy. They are exhausted, uninspired, and under-performing. Because they haven’t committed to a main thing, anything and everything catches their eye, captures their attention, and steals their time.

“Time wasted is existence,
used is life” [unknown].

Non-existent planning, failure to anticipate the future, and zero sense of urgency results in unnecessary last minute changes, missed opportunities, and unrealized goals. Time to create, be resourceful, reinvest in yourself, or exceed expectations becomes extinct.

The act of planning is neither fun nor glamorous, but it’s the main thing that will keep you on track to reaching YOUR main thing. Unlike winning the lottery, where you can just sit on the sofa all day and wait for your number to show up, dreams require plans.

“Good plans shape good decisions.
That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true”

Without planning, excellence is fleeting. Excellence requires the ability to focus and to create for oneself a sense of structure. The discipline to plan is the dray horse of excellence; it means will power and self-sacrifice. It requires a long-term outlook. Paradoxically, planning can be liberating. It shapes your identity and gives you the freedom to build by keeping the main the main thing [Pincott].

I have worked with people (and I’m sure you have, too), who, for whatever reason, failed to plan. Each day was a three-alarm fire. Every project was past due. They were always so “incredibly busy” putting out fires, that everything waited until the last minute. And then, if something went wrong at the last minute (and it invariably does), it was a catastrophe of enormous proportions. Which, coincidentally, carried them even further away from their main thing.

The problem is, when you are constantly operating against the deadline, you are not delivering your best work, putting forth your best effort, or enjoying the journey. Life becomes a series of mad dashes to the finish line, with you arriving late, out of breath, and disheveled.

Wouldn’t it be easier to have a plan? Write down your main thing. Then, write down the things that keep the main thing the main thing. Then, work the plan.

As Vince Lombardi said, “success demands singleness of purpose.”

Whatever you are, be a good one,


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