Clarify Your Priorities
Are you experiencing the highest level of clarity and confidence possible to pursue your goals?
Do you feel inspired and fully engaged?
Does your life feel like it is in perfect harmony?
“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” –Brian Tracy
Most of us experience times when we feel like we are on top of our game and other times when we need to rebalance our priorities. How can we consistently stay in the place that works for us?
For many years, I have been a fan of Brian Tracy, one of the world’s top speakers with audiences exceeding 250,000 people each year. He is the author of over fifty books, including the bestselling Psychology of Achievement, which remains one of the top resources for personal development. His daughter Christina Stein is a speaker, author, and psychotherapist who focuses on work-life balance and female empowerment. The father-daughter duo teamed up to write Find Your Balance Point: Clarify Your Priorities, Simplify Your Life, and Achieve More. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Christina about their new work.
How to Achieve True Balance
What is a balance point?
We are all unique individuals with our own values, vision, purpose, and goals. Each one of us has a different way of achieving true balance. Each person experiences true balance when he or she is operating at their own unique balance point. Your balance point is a state of alignment that you experience when your actions and efforts are a true reflection of your values. It is from your balance point that you experience the highest level of clarity, commitment, strength, and confidence to pursue your ambitions, both personally and professionally.
You want your efforts to have power, strength and meaning. In order to move forward with focus and intention you need be sure footed and feel grounded and balanced. In martial arts before you throw a punch you get into the ready stance so you know you are at optimum grounding to have the most power and resistance. Your balance point is your own unique ready stance for life.
You say we can achieve a false balance. What is this? How do we recognize it?
False balance is incongruence with your actions and your values. There are a couple ways to recognize when you are experiencing false balance:
- You feel a little knot in your stomach all the time, and you’ve become so accustomed to this feeling that you think its normal.
- At the end of a busy day you sit down and feel as though you spent the whole day doing things and yet accomplished nothing.
- You are constantly feeling guilty about what you are doing and think you should be doing something else.
- Nothing inspires you. Your life is monotonous and boring, every day rolls into the next and few things hold meaning for you.
When you are experiencing false balance you may do things to try and feel better, things associated with feeling good and aimed at achieving balance, but it is not a one size fits all. Things bring balance to us because they address a specific need, and unless you identify what you need you cannot successfully identify the solution.
Put Your Own Happiness First
One section says to “put your own happiness first.” What do you say to the person who says that seems selfish and that true happiness is about serving others?
True happiness is about serving others. What makes people feel the happiest in their lives is when they are a part of something bigger then themselves. The challenge is that it is very hard to give to something if you have nothing to give. The idea of putting your own happiness first is the same idea as those videos on the plane that tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then the small child next to you. If you run out of oxygen you can’t help anyone else.
“The starting point of designing a wonderful life is for you to develop absolute clarity about who you are and what matters to you.” –Brian Tracy and Christina Stein
Clarify Your Purpose
How do you clarify your purpose?
I would ask a few questions:
- Where do you feel the greatest sense of contentment? What are you doing? Who are you with? Why does it feel so grounded?
- What are you good at? What is a skill that you have learned that when you use this skill you feel energized and inspired? Who are you with?
- Who are three people you admire and why?
The answers to these questions can help you create a picture of what you look like when you are in your element and living with purpose. From this place you can focus more and more until you identify the direction that would feel the most authentic and satisfying for you. The key is to then find a way to serve others and be a part of something bigger then yourself.
“Whatever you believe with feeling becomes your reality.” –Brian Tracy
3 Rituals of Successful People
Share a few of the rituals of successful people.
- Have written goals.
When you know what you want and you write it down, you then create a direction for all of your actions. You can have long-term goals and short-term goals, but without written goals you go through life reacting to the circumstances around you instead of taking charge of your destiny and working toward something that truly matters to you. Imagine if you went on a hike and didn’t have a map to lead you to the end. You would wonder around the trails hoping not to get lost and maybe never getting to the end. However, if you had a map you would know exactly what turns to take to get you successfully to the other end of the path. Setting goals is like drawing a map for your life so you know exactly where to go and how to get there. When you write down your goals you are actually going to hold yourself more accountable to those goals.
- Plan each day in advance
The best way to be most effective with your time and stay focused is to plan each day in advance. You can sit down the night before and write out all of the things you need to do that following day or, if you are a morning person, you can plan your day the morning of. The key is that you take some time to consciously choose how you will spend your time. Ideally, you should write a list of tasks and prioritize your list to ensure that you will complete those tasks that are the most important.
- ABCDE Method of Prioritizing
In number two above we talked about planning out your day in advance. First you write out your list for the day and the next step is to prioritize those tasks. Go through the list and mark an “A” next to any task that is absolutely necessary and must be accomplished that day. Next go through and mark a “B” next to those tasks that you should do; these tasks don’t have any major consequence should you not complete them or push them until tomorrow. “C” tasks are tasks that are nice to do, but make no difference at all if they are done or not. Mark a “D” next to anything that can be delegated and an “E” next to those things that can be eliminated altogether. If you do this and actually follow this order of priority, you will achieve more of the important tasks and feel happier and more energized by your day.
“True balance can be achieved only when you are confident with your choices.” –Tracy / Stein
5 Techniques to Overcome Procrastination
It is natural to get distracted and struggle with procrastination. Often times when the expectations are not entirely clear or we don’t feel confident in our ability to successfully complete the task, we are more likely to procrastinate. If you find yourself procrastinating, ask yourself if you need more information about the task before you start or if you need to learn something to complete the task. Additionally, here are five techniques that can help you overcome procrastination:
- Prepare for your task. Get everything you need to complete the task so that it is all in front of you and ready to go.
- Set a time limit. Give yourself a set amount of time that you will work on the task and then commit to that amount of time and stay focused.
- Set up a reward structure. Give yourself a reward for completing the task. This can actually help shift your attention from the task to the reward.
- Hold yourself accountable by telling others your plan.
- Practice discipline. Imagine you are going to be called out of town for a month unexpectedly. Imagine you must complete one major task before you leave. Focus on that task and get it done.
“The best way to be most effective with your time and stay focused is to plan each day in advance.” –Christina Stein
Find Your Balance Point: Clarify Your Priorities, Simplify Your Life, and Achieve More