An "F"-ing Problem

Last month my friend Jason Barger, a noted author and speaker, visited our church as a guest preacher and gave a sermon on his book ReMember. Jason’s book is, at it’s core, about recommitting to what is most important and connecting with the important people and priorities in our lives in more meaningful ways. During his sermon, he quoted a friend of his as once telling him that we have “an ‘f’-ing problem” in our world; we all too often forget what is most important, and do not pay attention to those important priorities in our lives. That quote resonated with me. I have been thinking about it quite a bit since then, and in fact, I think we have a number of “f”-ing problems in our world right now….

We forget what is important:

We all lead busy lives, and are constantly pulled in myriad different directions. We have responsibilities to our families, our jobs, our friends and our communities, all of which demand attention and energy from us. Consequently, it is easy to get distracted from what drew us to the important things in the first place, to stop paying attention to the Mission for all the things we do. As Simon Sinek says in his Start with Why TED Talk, we get consumed with what we do and how to do it, rather than WHY we started the project, took the job or developed that relationship in the first place. Forgetting causes us to spin our wheels; when we pay attention to the reasons for our actions, we can once again find the Mission.

We focus on the wrong things:

In our daily lives, the pressure to get everything done can often distract us from the most important aspects of our lives— our families, our communities, the Mission of our work. This often manifests itself in working on tasks for the satisfaction of crossing them off the list, rather than because they help advance our most important priorities. Jason Barger calls it “busyness” rather than “effectiveness.” Prioritization is key here— we need to constantly reassess our actions and activities to ensure that they are the most important right now. As Brian Tracy says, “there may not be time to get everything done on your list, but there is always time to get the most important thing done.” Do that most important thing. Avoid being busy, and you are more likely to be effective.

We fail to plan:

By now, we all know the importance of setting goals, but what often gets lost in the shuffle is the importance of building a plan to achieve those goals. Again, to quote Brian Tracy, “A goal without a plan is a wish.” A solid, well-thought-out plan is every bit as important to accomplishing a goal as the goal itself. When thinking about those personal and professional priorities in our lives, the Mission is the “why” we do things, goals are the “what,” and plans are the “how.” A good plan helps achieve goals, which allows for accomplishment of the Mission.

We follow the wrong path:

Outward bound and survivalist courses teach the art of way-finding; that is, focusing on a certain fixed point in the distance as a destination. If you are in the wilderness, using way-finding can help you stay on the path that will ultimately lead you to your destination (or perhaps back to where you started). It is the same in our daily lives; when we stop focusing on the destination, we can find ourselves wandering aimlessly down the wrong path. Keep your eyes on the goal, the Mission, and you will find your way to your destination.

I am passionate about this topic, and I have a heart for working with individuals, companies and teams to focus, prioritize, and plan in order to accomplish the Mission. If you want to talk more, or recognize a need in your organization, let’s have a conversation. I look forward to hearing from you.

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