Focus on the ONE Thing That Matters Most
I started reading a book called "The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results" by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. It references the movie from 1991 called City Slickers, where the old gruff character named Curly suggests the key to life is to find the ONE thing. It's a great movie...and the book is pretty good today. Check them out for sure.
But, it got me thinking about what's MY one thing...and maybe what should YOUR one thing be. This is incredibly important, because life is short and there are seemingly endless things we could be focused on. The book (and our personal lives) makes it pretty clear that we all struggle in this area. Instead of gaining traction in the most important areas of our lives, we end up running on a treadmill like a rat in a cage. Can you relate?
Maybe we're chasing after the dollars, fortune, fame, a job/career, health, friendships, family, etc. We can try focusing on all of those areas at the same time and the result will most likely be failure across the board.
Maybe we're focused on serving at church, or in our community, or for some significant cause which is great. But often our families end up in last place priority while we give our lives to something we deem more important or self-gratifying. Again...can you relate?
Going to the other extreme, highly focused, super-successful business people often end up divorced and alone....because their family came last. They focused on the wrong thing!
You've surely heard it countless times before...that no one on their death bed thinks "I wish I could have worked more". Instead, it's our family members and close friends around us in the end which truly matters most. In other words, it's our relationships which matter most.
Relationships should be everyone's ONE thing. You can have the big house, the nice car, and all the fruits of your hard-earned labor...but if you lose your family, you have nothing.
So, confession time here: I haven't always been the best role model here....but I'm working on it. There have been periods in my life where I was focused on work exclusively....there was no such thing as work/life balance. It was ALL work.
There have been periods in my life where I was focused exclusively on my health. Last year, I trained for my first 70.3 half Iron Man triathlon in St. George Utah and it put a huge strain on my family. My wife became was is called a "Triathlon Widow", which the Urban Dictionary defines as, "A triathlete is any person who was once human, but has now transformed into something super-human [...] must spend all their spare time swimming, biking, running, and shaving themselves in order to keep their new-found sport god status. During this time, they are technically still married, but their wife/husband considers them dead due to their lack of normal human function. Note: The spouse is only considered a triathlon widow during the time the triathlete is wasting all their spare time spent training, racing, shaving, or thinking about their multi-sport addiction in general."
This phrase and definition are all too accurate which is admittedly sad....and my spouse and children relationships suffered. Like you, I only have so much time in a day and distributing that time to your highest priority is paramount.
So, I've had to learn and work hard to balance work, family, health, and friendships. I've also had to learn the concept of grace for myself and others. There is no such thing as perfection here, and we are all going to fail at achieving a balanced life. Achieving a perfect life balance is not the point of this message. In fact, it's not the point of the book either.
The point is that we need to focus our best and most productive energy on the one thing that is most important....RELATIONSHIPS. I can still be productive at work and workout to stay fit...but if my relationships aren't fit...then my life is moving backwards. Relationships are the ONE thing for me....and I'll be bold and suggest that they should be YOUR one thing as well. You can still have other areas of your life that you give attention to, but make sure the most important thing is the most important thing.
In the best selling book called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about putting first things first. He calls them "big rocks". If the "big rocks" metaphor is lost on you, search youtube for "stephen covey big rocks" and it will become crystal clear. But, it makes the same ultimate point....you must focus your highest attention on the most important things in your life. You must work on your highest priorities first...ie. "putting first things first".
So, what's most important in your life?
- List them out: job, career, faith, hobbies, health, sex, entertainment, family, friendships, etc.
- One by one, ask yourself if you lost one, what the impact would be.
I can tell you categorically, I could lose a lot of things and survive just fine...but if I lost my family, it would be devastating.
All of this leads me to the conclusion that I'm doing exactly what I should be doing...1) focusing on improving my own family relationships and connections, and 2) helping, supporting, and encouraging you to do the same.
How about you? What's YOUR one thing? Tell us using the comments below.
One final note: how can we help you? Where are you struggling in your family relationships? What challenges are you facing that you might just need some straight-forward, empathetic, confidential guidance on? Where here to help.
Comment below or use our Contact Us page to send us a note. You can give us a huge gift by allowing us to help you. It can also be pretty lonely writing a blog and not knowing if anyone is reading it...so just saying hi would also be encouraging to us. Hint, Hint!