My life coach will often ring these words through my ears: “If everything is a priority then nothing is a priority.” It gets me every time. It does seem that each day, even though I think the next day will be different, I am overwhelmed with tasks that I feel I can’t say “No” to, and/or problems that I feel I just immediately have to attend to or the world around me will crumble. All the while beating myself up for not ever reaching the goals I set for myself in career, money and love. I certainly can prioritize my day—with someone else’s priorities—not mine. I prioritize myself right out of my own day! It’s as if I care so much for everyone and everything else around me that I have lived a quarter of a life without exactly fully living mine…if that makes sense.
For example, I have been known to fight injustices at jobs and pour all my soul and energy into righting a wrong (and sometimes losing the job for it.) Sounds noble, I suppose, but look closer. The job (and people) I’m fighting for is not the job I really intend for myself at the end of the day. It is a passing job, if you will, on the road to what I really want to do, but here I am fighting as if it is the be all and end all to my world. To justify my prioritizing the event and energy lost, I tell myself I am advancing the cause of a better life for not only myself, but for those around me….only to find myself empty and exhausted from a fight that had nothing to do with me, because it was for a life I didn’t want to be leading anyway.
The funny part is how it isn’t just the fighting of other people’s fights at a job you don’t really care about that can eat away at your personal goals. It is also the little things that you THINK you have to attend to in order for your life to finally run smoothly to get to where you want to go. It is the yelling at the person at the supermarket for having 15 items in the 10 item line. It is the middle finger you flick to the guy driving behind you, whom then speeds up besides you and truly scares the bejeez out of you. It is all of these things that come upon you EVERY DAY that takes you away from you reaching YOUR personal success that much quicker.
All of the incidents seem rather monumental in the split second of how you decide to respond, but if you look back at your day and ask, “Did I get that much closer to my dream today?” You probably will realize what a f***in’ waste of breath. There are things that matter and things don’t. Look at how to fit your priorities into the bigger scheme of what you really want. Maybe think of your world as a game of chess and with each fight you think you need to take part in is really a question of: “If I move this pawn over here, will that make a clearer shot to check-mate the queen and win the game?” The game, of course, being your success. If your moves don’t add up to you getting closer to the finish line then it is an activity you may not want to participate in--if your emotions and ego can stand it, that is.
I guess what I’m really getting at is that yes, you will have to fight some injustices to get through your day, but choose your fights wisely, get your nose out of other people’s business, don’t sweat the small stuff, and any other adage that might apply. Oh, and get your priorities prioritized!
Originally published in In the Scene Magazine