Do you have the right priorities?
Updated: Feb 17, 2019
In the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, Covey discusses that effective people always begin with the end in mind. It may seem like a simple concept, but so often we get caught up in the details and forget to consider what it is we are really working toward.
When I was climbing the ranks in the real estate field, I began as an apartment leasing agent, then property manager, then moved on to commercial real estate marketing, and finally to commercial real estate agent. I landed a large, private office, worked in a great team, and I was making more money than I ever had before. I realized that I had essentially reached the end. In other words, there was no where else within the field that I wanted to go. I had made it, and now it was time to network and grow within this amazing position, right? So why did it feel so anticlimactic? Why did I feel unfulfilled?
I went over it in my head for months, labeling myself as ungrateful for not appreciating the opportunities I had been awarded in real estate. Then, one day it just clicked that I had been working so hard for so long to get to the top of my field, because that's what I thought I was supposed to do, strive to be the best. That's what successful people do. The problem is that I forgot to stop and think about what was really important to me as a person instead of what would make me successful. I didn't ask the important questions. Is success even worth it without having someone to share it with? Does this field actually make me happy or is it just something I happen to be good at? Instead of being guided by my own values, I was guided by how I wanted the world to see me. Because I didn't take the time to look inward and make decisions about my own vision for my life, I was mostly just reacting to my environment, striving to move up without understanding why. Now that I understand that, I know that real estate was just the beginning and not the end.
My new end is anchored by the things that truly are important to me like being around for my family, remaining a perpetual learner, pushing my creative limits, helping others, and leaving a positive mark on society.
As Covey conveys in his book, we cannot truly be effective until we have defined our values. When we organize our time and space, it should be done around those things that are most important to us. These are things we normally push to the side when we allow the busyness of everyday life to take over---things like family time and "me" time and hobbies we love. Don't let those things slip into the shadows. Build your life around them and success will follow if you remain honest to what you want in life.