5 ways to work out what is important in business and life
As businesses and business owners continue to deal with the chaos that is being caused by COVID-19, it's never been a better time to take stock to identify and prioritise the opportunities that you can take forward. Sid Madge of Meee shares his five top ways to work out what is important for you and your business.
The pandemic has caused us to pause and reflect on what is important to us as individuals and as businesspeople.
That reflection has created some surprising results. According to a YouGov poll only 8% of Britons want to go back to life as it was before the pandemic. The Economist has stated that this forced home working experiment is likely to change work life forever, perhaps toward some hybrid model that works for everyone. This suggests that we do have the opportunity to make changes that go way beyond some compromised version of ‘new normal’. We can take this time to consider what is important to us moving forward and make a plan for making that happen.
As business owners and managers, we need to start by looking at ourselves and take what we learn into our businesses. Let’s look at five areas that will be helpful in this process.
Know your values
Our values influence our thoughts and actions and yet most of us have never stopped to consider what they are. What’s most important to you in your life? Money? Family? Kindness? Honesty? What do you stand for? What are your ethics or code of conduct? Can you see evidence of these values in your life?
For example, if you believe you value kindness, when did you last demonstrate kindness? If you really want to know what you value look at what you do. If we are to uncover what is really important to us, we have to know our values so we can find more ways to demonstrate those values in our daily life.
Take a minute to consider what you value most. Meee has a values exercise that can help if you like.
Find the connections
In the late Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech he talked about connecting the dots of our life and how that was never possible looking forward. But when we look back, if we look and pay attention, we can often see patterns or signposts in our life. Jobs suggested that we had to, “trust in something, your gut, destiny, life karma, whatever.”
The key to uncovering what is important to us, often lies in the past. It is the recognition of the moments and experiences that, when taken together form a pattern or a direction of travel that will bring purpose and meaning – if we have the courage to pursue them.
Take a minute to map out your interests and where you would like to end up. How can you use the situations and resources in your life right now to reach that outcome faster?
Create an 'anti-bucket list'
Part of knowing what is important to us is being honest about what is not. We’ve all heard of the bucket-list – the list of all the experiences and adventures we want to have, places we want to visit, things we want to own, before we 'kick the bucket'. But the anti-bucket list is just as important. This is the list of the things we can tick off right now because they are just not important to us – regardless of what the success industry tells us.
For example, I used to want to be rich. Now I couldn’t care less. I want to make a difference, that is more in line with my values and is much more important to me than a new car or fancy watch. Recognising that is liberating.
Take a minute to write your anti-bucket list – all the things currently in your life that you would like to stop or get rid of, or old goals that are just not that important to you anymore. Free yourself from their grasp and use the injection of energy, time or resources to make the things that are important happen.
Is there something you want to do but are scared it won’t work out? Perhaps you want to write a book or change career. Maybe you want to lose weight and get fitter, but the goal seems too big and too far away.
Whatever you want to do – just start. If you want to lose weight, take the stairs today, only have one biscuit with your morning coffee instead of two. The start doesn’t need a drum roll, fireworks or a front page spread in the local paper, it just needs to happen.
Every book is started by one word. The most awe-inspiring music ever composed starts with a single note. The greatest works of art started with a single brush stroke, or single tap of a chisel. Don’t wait until you are ready – no one is ever ready. Besides, once you start you will be ready.
Don’t search for signs or defining moments – they may never come. Instead make now your defining moment. Start now. Don’t question whether you are capable or worthy – just start, start small and keep going. If you falter, get back on track and keep going. Don’t stop until you have achieved what you set out to achieve.
Expand your circle
It’s the people in our life that give it meaning. When something good happens, it’s made more enjoyable when we can share it with others. When something bad happens, it can soften the blow when we have others to lean on. We need friends and family as much as we need oxygen.
Take a minute to consider who you spend the most time with. Do those people build you up and encourage you to be the best you can be, or do they put you down and diminish your dreams?
Be aware of how you feel when you are with the people in your life, take stock of whether they make you feel better or worse. If they are not adding positive value to your life, then consider spending a little less time with those people and seek out like-minded collaborators so you can be each other’s cheerleader.
I’m a great believer in the power of micro moments and tiny interventions that when maintained lead to lasting change. The suggestions I’ve shared here are pulled from my Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our mindset and get into positive and constructive action toward our dreams for ourselves, our families and our businesses.
This year gives us an opportunity. Let’s start by embracing the silver lining the pandemic has given us. Then let’s focus our entrepreneurial drive and skills to build a better tomorrow.