First Things FirstJan 19, 2022
Do you find yourself easily distracted when you sit down or set out to get going with the difference only you can make?
Yeah. Me too.
It'd be easy to blame screens and media that are designed to divert and keep our attention. Then there are the friends and family (and more than the occasional stranger) trying to drag me into their drama or priorities.
But the fact is, I've always had a hard time doing one thing at a time. There's always an abundance of nifty things I could explore, try, or engage with.
What to do?
Establish and maintain guiding principles.
What the heck are guiding principles?
Guiding principles encompass your personal beliefs and values. They are fundamental principles used to organize and direct your life in all circumstances, irrespective of changes.
Guiding principles help you understand and remember what's important.
Here are a few examples of guiding principles I've established for myself.
- One thing at a time. One project, one conversation, one task, that's it. Which thing at what time? That's a matter of establishing priorities and a "stop-doing list."
- Stay curious. We're creatures programmed to react. You can create space to zoom out by asking yourself, "Isn't that interesting...?"
- When something unexpected or apparently urgent comes up in my day, I work through these three questions: Does this need to be said or done? Does it need to be said or done now? Does it need to be said or done now by me? Only if the answer to all three questions is "yes," do I turn my time, attention, and effort to that thing.
- When connecting, communicating, and collaborating, be transparent and don't obfuscate. Keep the conversation clear, direct, and respectful.
- When invited to share an opinion or feedback, witness, reflect and invite. Help others find their own way to their own truth.
- Establish boundaries and guardrails. Clearly define what you do and what you don't do and who you do it with and who you don't.
- Difference-makers are decision-makers. No result is guaranteed, and there are no absolutely "right" decisions, just alright decisions for right now. Define what's really going on now, what you're striving for next, and remember what matters.
These are some of my principles for navigating the inevitable uncertainty and adversity that arise daily in my difference-making. What about you? What are your guiding principles?
Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose.
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