Perhaps you’ve seen the “Big Rocks” demonstration Stephen Covey taught many years ago… you know, the one where you have a jar filled with little rocks and another filled with 3 or 4 big ones and you need to get them all into a small container? No surprise, the key is putting the big rocks in first and then all the little ones fit in around them. Done the other way around, everything spills out and doesn’t fit.
For me, some days inadvertently start with the little stuff like checking email, glancing at the paper while eating a quick breakfast and remembering to grab needed files before running out the door to an early meeting. On those days, I sometimes forget to make time for a quick personal strategy session to remember what is most important – the big rocks – for the day.
By contrast, I’m learning that even 10 minutes spent strategically focusing on a few big picture "rocks" can gain me hours of peace throughout the day. There are three “big rocks” I aim to affirm every day with greater frequency. I start with myself – who am I and why am I here? Next I move to the most important relationships with family and friends – who’s doing what, who needs a bit of acknowledgement and deeper conversation? And finally out to our world – what’s needed today and how am I supporting it?
I believe that a vital component of being a leader is living from the inside out with conscious intention.
Then, before really starting my day, I am in the habit of claiming my daily intention and sharing it with my “wake up” partner (who is often ahead of me by sharing theirs with me first).
Some people start the day with a prayer or a gratitude list – their first big rock has a spiritual foundation. Others start with the news to learn what’s going on the world. Whatever your big rocks are, do you consciously begin each day? It’s never too late during the day to decipher what your big rocks are... so give it a try, now!
Stay tuned for Part II next month... What are the "big rocks" in difficult conversations?