I used to teach a two-week course in San Diego each July. Although the course kept me busy, the time away from the office and from home afforded me unique blocks of unscheduled time. So, each year, I turned that two-week period into a personal, professional retreat. I spent the time reading a book specifically selected for that year and I dedicated myself to special time in reflection and planning. Those were important days.
One year, I read Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” The teachings in that book coupled with my own reflections that year helped me to adjust the course of several areas of my life – personal and professional. If you have never read Covey’s most popular book, check it out from your library and spend the time to read it.
Last fall, a friend was promoted to a high-level management job and I gave a copy of “Seven Habits” to him. He, like many people, is at the top of his career in a narrow area of expertise; leadership was never part of his professional training. It was the perfect “first book” for him to read. Several times over my career, “Seven Habits” has been my “next book” to read.
When I give a book as a gift, I often write a note in the inside cover. But, this time it was different. To my friend, I began writing my note and ended up writing a chapter. As you and I start this new year (and, as I restart this series on leadership), I thought it might be helpful for us to reflect on a few items from that chapter.
1. Keep your list of priorities short and check your calendar and actions against that list. Here is my list of priorities: #1 God, #2 John, #3 All other relationships, #4 Service, #5 Excellence. As I think about that list, I have to remember that it is up to me to do the work and to keep life interesting.
How long is your priority list? What is on the list? Does your schedule reflect your stated order of priorities? How about your bank account, your thoughts, your use of free time?
We’ll talk more about each of these in future discussions.
Jill (just one of God’s kids)