The most important thing in life

Where do your priorities lie?

What is the most important thing in life? Over 90% of people say family, children and personal relationships. However, when you ask them about their goals they will talk about careers and money, but have a hard time telling you what their family or relationship goals are.

We hear such things as ‘I want to be a good husband and father’ or ‘I want to be a good mother and friend’. How far would you get at work if you said your goal was to be a good manager? What does that mean?  No detail means no clear action and no results.

At work we have mission and value statements, targets, key performance indicators and regular reviews. Goals are carefully planned; time allocated and reviewed. Yet we don’t apply the same diligence to our relationships with our family. We go along assuming ‘everything will work out’.  We say that family and friends come first but we don’t set goals for improving and enhancing these relationships. Do family events go in your diary first or do you find time around your business appointments?

Our values are demonstrated not by what we say but what we do. If you want to know what someone values look at what they focus on. How people spend their time and their money reveals what they value most.

We need to be focused on work but at home are you truly engaged with your family or sitting on the laptop ‘just finishing something’ or thinking about what you have to do the following day?

I found out the hard way when my eldest daughter turned 13 and I realised I was the father of a teenager. It hit me that I had missed out on the last 10 years. I was there physically but not engaged mentally. With all three of my kids I regret the times I said ‘not now I’m working’ or ‘we’ll do that later’. Later never came.

Why did it take me so long to see the folly in this? I feel lucky I woke up to myself and changed my ways before it was too late.

Consider this: a child may stay at home with you for 20 years. Some move away earlier to attend university and others may stay longer; but the point is that the time you have with them is limited.

That‘s about a quarter of your life and then they’re gone. You will still have your job or business, your investments and your golf but you won’t have the day to day interaction with your kids.

Even if you don’t have children, you do have relationships with your family, with your friends, with your colleagues and so the same applies.  As important as career and financial success are they must be seen as the means to the end of a happy family and meaningful relationships. Financial support for your children is important but so too is emotional and physical support. Kids may enjoy receiving a few hundred dollars to buy the latest computer game or iPod but what they value is the time and attention you can give them.

Your motivation for doing well in business and financial areas are often your family. When you prioritise your personal relationships you actually get better at the other parts of your life. In other words, the relationships motivate the achievements.

Leave the house every day fortified with the strength of your family relationship and knowing that you have a purpose in everything you do. This alone will make an immeasurable difference to your success.

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One Response to “The most important thing in life”

  1. paulhassing Says:

    Sounds like a hard lesson you learnt there, WLB2. Good on you for taking it on board and broadcasting it for the benefit of others. Best regards, P. 🙂

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