Quintessential Leader Basics: Determining, Understanding, Establishing and Pursuing Your Priority

Posted: June 5, 2016 in Practical Quintessential Leadership
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Priority Quintessential LeaderEach of us has a priority in life. We may not even be aware of what our priority is because it is a subconscious choice we’ve made. It may be a priority that we didn’t choose, but instead is just simply the result of following, right or wrong, somebody else’s example and/or definition of what our priority should be.

However, determining, understanding, establishing, and pursuing the priority of our life should not be left to our subconscious nor should it be put in the hands of other people to determine or model.

Because what we choose as the most important thing in our lives (there is such thing as priorities, because the word priority means “the condition of something or someone being more important than anything or anyone else and therefore always coming or being dealt with first”), we should be very aware of and actively involved in determining, understanding, establishing, and pursuing our priority.

As part of the human race, we all have many things and many people in our day-to-day lives trying to set our priority for us. As quintessential leaders, we have even more things and people vying for the place of primary importance in our lives.

While sometimes this effort is manipulative and coercive, most of the time it is not, but it is still something we must face, address, and determine whether it fits into the big picture of our lives’ priority.

Some things do and some things don’t. 

However, if we don’t know what our priority is, we don’t understand what it encompasses, we haven’t firmly established it, and we are not actively pursuing it, then we will be clueless as to how the rest of life – and all that stuff coming at us every day – does or doesn’t fit in.

One of the hardest things, it seems, for people to do is to establish a framework (your priority determines this), set boundaries, and learn to say “no.”

Instead we fill our lives with frantic busyness – we call this “managing multiple priorities,” while it is really terminal and futile juggling of many balls in the air with nothing tangible related to the priority of our lives to show for our effort when they all fall down on our heads because we simply run out of energy to keep going – by immediately saying “yes” (or being afraid to say “no” because we’re afraid of what other people might say or think about us if we do) to everything that comes into our purview, never questioning whether it really matters, it’s valuable, it’s productive, and it is intimately related to our life’s priority.

In the end, we often find ourselves absolutely spent physically, emotionally, and mentally with absolutely nothing to show for it and we feel like we’re torn in a million different directions and have lost our way in our own lives.

That is why we must, as quintessential leaders, continually and actively have the priority of our lives right in front of us. Everything we are, we do, and we say must fit within that priority, while everything that does not must be eliminated or rejected.

This is not easy. But the road to quintessential leadership is not an easy road. 

The difficulties come in several forms, but we’ll cover two of the most challenging ones today.

There are people who don’t know and understand our priority who will erroneously assume that our priority is, at best, misguided, and, at worst, completely wrong, not realizing that where we are right now and where we are going is already the product of our continual assessment of what does and does not fit within the priority we’ve established and are pursuing in our lives. 

As a result, they will constantly insist that we reassess our priority.

However, because our priority doesn’t match what they believe it ought to be (it is absolute foolishness to allow another human being to dictate the priority of your life because you are a unique creation, the only person who will ever walk completely in your shoes, in your heart, your soul, and your mind and no one else can even come close to knowing the depths of who and what you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve seen, and what you’ve done, and where you’re going), the biggest irony is that we can never, to their satisfaction, explain that we’ve already done and are continuing to do what they keep insisting we must do.

This is subtle sign of an attempt to control: for the person suggesting reassessment, the only end result that will satisfy them is that our priority matches the priority they believe we ought to have. Anything else, sadly, is unacceptable.

Another difficulty comes from manipulation. This is in the form of explicit or implied guilt being attributed to us when we say “no” to things that do not fit within the big picture of our priority. The manipulation is generally emotional and it sounds like “you don’t care about me,” “I can’t believe you’d let __________ down,” and “how can you turn your back on ____________?”

It’s extremely important for us to understand that saying “no” to something that doesn’t fit within our priority means that we have boundaries we are adhering to, but it does not mean we don’t care about others, that we’re letting others down, or that we’re turning our back on others.

This form of manipulation is known as projection and it has the dangerous potential, unless we recognize it for what it is (that it’s not a reflection of us but instead of the person who is doing it), of triggering enough of an emotional response in us to cause us to cave in to including things in our lives that are not within our priority and we will pay the price for that either immediately or down the road.

As always, it’s unfailingly easy to assume and believe that we’re okay and this post is for everybody else. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This post requires you and me, if you and I are striving to become quintessential leaders, to continually evaluate our lives by honestly asking and answering the hard questions we find there and take action based on those answers.

Have we determined the priority of our lives?

Do we understand the priority of our lives?

Have we established the priority of our lives?

Are we exclusively pursuing the priority of our lives?

How are we doing?


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