A few weeks ago I met with a new client who shared an immensely valuable distinction, especially for this time of year. The client has a $60 million business, wants to grow it to $100 million, and then consistently keep it performing at that level.
As you can imagine, this CEO is really busy. He is intensely focused on building and managing his business, not to mention the many additional commitments he has to his family, friends and other interests.
Not surprisingly, during one of our early conversations he talked about the challenge of managing all the demands on his time - the competing needs of the business, the infinite requests people make of him, etc.
He then shared a distinction that I thought was brilliant . . . and a bit painful to admit. He talked about being busy vs. having priorities.
He shared that all too often people say they didn't get to something because they were busy. Not only did that sound reasonable, but I have to admit that I say that quite often myself. Then he pointed out that we really aren't "busy," but rather have other priorities, and YOU or your request isn't one of them at the moment.
If you are like me, I imagine you just cringed. That is a very difficult message to hear. It is even harder to say to someone. It sounds quite harsh. Yet, after thinking about it, that is the truth of what we are really saying when we tell someone we are busy.
The words I often say to people echoes in my head - "Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I've been really busy." In some ways, I wear that as a badge of honor, indicating that my business, or life, is going well. However, in thinking more honestly about the underlying truth here, what I really mean is, "Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, but I had other priorities I needed to tend to."
I realize this truth has some sharp edges to it, but the reality is we simply just don't have time for everything. We have to choose. This is particularly important at this time of year, when many of us are thinking about and setting our goals. We must choose which priorities we will focus on, and which must fall by the wayside, for we simply can't get to all the things that place demands on our time.
If you wish to have a phenomenal 2016, one that is both satisfying and fulfilling, then be sure your focus is on the priorities that will have you achieve what you truly desire.