The Five Priorities of a Successful Life
It pains me to see so many men and women who are successful in their leadership, but miserably failing in so many other key areas of their lives. We have all seen the wildly successful businessman whose family is falling apart, or who has a heart attack at age 51, simply because he did not give those areas of his life priority. Friend, is this you?
You have graciously allowed me into your life to help you when it comes to success in leadership. Today, I want to talk to you about success in life. I want to challenge you, as I challenge myself, to succeed in the following five areas of life.
In each of the following Life Priorities, please rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 (1, being completely neglected; and 5, being an area in which you really excel). Write them down. Be honest with yourself.
First Priority: Faith
Jesus said in Luke 8:36, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul?” Take it from me, it is easy to ignore our faith. If you have, don’t feel bad. Just do something about it.
You may ask why faith is so important. Our lives are short. We are but dust in the wind, a vapor that quickly disappears. Especially as a doctor, I see first hand the fragility of life. One small dark mole can kill you if it’s skin cancer. While our bodies are transient, our soul is eternal. God is everlasting. We would be wise to align our lives with Him.
As a Christian, my faith answers the most important questions of life for me. The existential questions of why I am here and what I am to do with my life. Questions that science and philosophy fail to answer. Not only that, but my faith is a source of peace for me.
Just like most of you, I have always worked hard to live a good life. But many times I have ignored my faith. There came a time when I realized what I was doing, and I said, “No more.” I had achieved to the best of my ability, but ignored what really mattered. When we become seduced by achievement, we easily forget what’s most important: our eternity.
If you don’t know where to begin in your faith, get a Bible. Set aside ten minutes a day to start reading one Psalm per day. Choose one verse from it, and meditate on it throughout the day. Take another ten minutes, and write down your prayer to God. Twenty minutes a day; it will change your life.
Second Priority: Family
So many leaders ignore their families. Even those who excel in their faith, often fail with their families. They focus so much on God that they don’t care for those whom God put into their lives. David O. McKay said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” Think about it.
No other success can compensate for failure in the home.
- David O. McKay
Make investing into your family central to your journey. They are easy to neglect, because they will often love you anyway. But don’t take them for granted. They are God’s gift to you. They are the people who will likely love you the most in this life.
The CEO of both Nissan and Renault, Carlos Gohn, said that even with his incredibly demanding responsibilities, he gives evenings and weekends to his family. Without question. It can be done, if we are intentional to make that a reality in our lives.
Third Priority: Health
Our third priority should be our health. The condition of our bodies will not only dictate our longevity on earth, but more importantly, it will determine our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Our health makes a tremendous impact on our overall quality of life. And yet, this area is also so easily ignored. As a matter of fact, I think for many people, it is completely ignored…until we get a harsh wake up call, that is. But many times it’s too late.
Of all the patients I see, I would say that less than 5% are intentional to make health a priority in their lives. And truth be told, I could personally do so much better with my own health, especially in the area of exercise.
Let me give you four keys to healthy living. As a family doctor, I see people in the beginning stages of illness. I never see people who maintain ideal weight, eat well, exercise, and maintain current recommendations for preventing disease (such as getting mammograms, colonoscopies, and yearly physicals, etc).
If you want to succeed in the area of your health, you must commit to maintaining:
- Weight: Your goal is to hit your target Body Mass Index, your ideal weight for your height.
- Diet: Maintain a low fat, high fiber diet.
- Exercise: Engage in at least three 30-minute sessions of cardio per week.
- Prevention: Visit your doctor yearly to catch disease before it starts.
Fourth Priority: Joy
Recently, in discussing my 2015 goals with my mentor pastor Peter Rahme, he was encouraging and positive as always about the big plans I had made. At the end of our conversation, he said, “One more thing, Wes. Don’t forget to bring joy on the journey this year.”
Joy! Wow. See, Peter knows me very well. He knows that as a highly ambitious individual, if I am not careful, I can fail in this area. And so I smiled. I wrote down the statement and began reading it daily. So many of us work hard to succeed in everything, but there is no smile on our face or in our hearts because we forget to bring joy on the journey.
Fifth Priority: Success
And while I am warning against the perils of focusing too keenly on success, I believe that we must not merely coast through life. Success requires that we fight for it, that we challenge ourselves. We must not give in to passive living. No passion. No hunger. No fervor.
I believe that we were made for great adventures. We were made to scale mountains. Are we going for it?
How can we master all five Life Priorities?
Chances are, most of us excel at one or two of the above areas, but fail in the rest. If you are there, I have a challenge for you.
As a person in my circle, I want you to have the best that life has to offer. So today, don’t delay. Join me in challenging yourself to do whatever is required to improve in the areas in which we scored poorly. Reorganize your resources of time and money. Reevaluate your values and priorities.
Commit to do whatever it takes to succeed in all five Life Priorities.
Actionable Step: Make sure the ratings you gave yourself are written down. Give thought to how you could improve your rating in every area this year, particularly the ones you may have previously ignored.
About Me: I use the app Nozbe to manage my to do list. This app lets me share the lists I want with other people on my team that I specify. I can see it on my computer as well as my phone.
For Further Reading: