Even the most grounded visionaries struggle with the many demands on their time, the many meetings, ever longer to do list, and constant distractions from mobile devices.
The problem is that if you get swept away by day-to-day chores at the expense of what really matters in your life, you will not have the impact that you can have. And the world needs you to stay focused on bringing your vision to life.
I find it helpful to structure my time through the lens of the “rocks, pebbles and sand” story:
A professor stands in front of her class, and puts an empty jar on the table. She fills the jar with a handful of rocks and asks: “Is the jar full?” The students answer: “Yes”.
The professor then picks up a bag of pebbles, drops them into the jar, shakes it a bit so that the pebbles can find the spaces between the rocks. Then she asks: “Is the jar full?” The students answer: “Yes”.
The professor then picks up a container of sand and pours it into the jar. The sand finds all the spaces between the rocks and the pebbles, until the jar is indeed full.
Afterwards the professor explains to the students:
“This jar is like your life: The rocks are the truly important things in your life. If only the rocks remained in your jar, your life would still be meaningful. The pebbles are the other things that matter in your life. And the sand is the rest.
If you were to fill the jar first with sand, then the pebbles and then the rocks, than you would not have space for any of the rocks, and for only few of the pebbles, which means that you would waste your time with “other” things.”
In other words, don’t spend your whole life on the small stuff, lest you will never have time for what truly matters to you.
That’s why being always clear about what matters most to you and needs your full attention is important.
My big rocks are my close relationships and supporting grounded visionaries to thrive; my pebbles are learning, fitness and creating stuff; and well, there really is no shortage of sand, and I had better stop looking at my smart phone and start on my taxes…
You have something to contribute. Resist the distraction.
Focus on your purpose and your vision. Make the time to clarify and pursue them.
If you have a vision but struggle to put it into action, or if it’s time to explore what would give your life deeper meaning and impact, get in touch for leadership coaching.