Friday, December 18, 2009

Patty DeDominic on Finding Your Priorities in a Noisy World

Life comes at you fast.

Calls need to be returned.
Bills need to be paid.
Family needs attention.

You need attention too.

Seems most people are scurrying around  trying to make everything on their "to-do list" disappear or get done.     Many career navigators are assessing their current employment, underemployment or, alas, over 6 million Americans, their recent event of  unemployment.  Plenty of people are getting discouraged and I hope you are not one of those who are near to losing hope.   Hang on ....there are some tips employed by sustainers and winners alike to tide them through the toughest times.     It's important to remind yourself of your priorities when the world seems most chaotic or bleak.

Focus on What YOU CAN DO... and on WHAT YOU care most about.  As the flight attendant tells the passengers before every flight " in the event of an emergency, put your own air mask on first" and only then can you begin to help others.

Step One:   Relax a bit.... and make a conscious effort to reduce your stress level.
Take a few deep breaths.... or a few days of Breathing for you first.

Step Two:   Reflect on your Personal Priorities, reconfirm your true values, needs and wants.

Most professionals I know also worry about how to give back in this ever faster moving world.
They want to make a contribution in their field, to others and in their community.   But it is becoming more difficult to sit quietly or to "see" your priorities amidst all the noise.  How to the best of us keep it all together?       First it is important to realize that NO ONE can "have it all" all the time.  Nor can we have it all together all the time.   

  Next, the goal should be Progress...NOT pursuit of perfection.  
 Progress toward our Worthy goals.  
   Please notice I said worthy goals.....I did not say "bus-y-ness". 

 Progress... period.

Let's Stay REAL...... and try to keep our goals REALISTIC. 

    Let us not put incredible stress on ourselves and others to accomplish the impossible every day.  (I know you often do accomplish the impossible, but you are the super achiever and even gold medalist-super achievers need a rest from time to time to perform their best).

Let's Keep our VALUES... and never lose our quest for the highest integrity in all we do.
AND to seek it and reinforce it in our colleagues and friends.  

Choose your friends carefully. 
 You can't choose all your work collegues or companies clients by the moral compas - some things are out of your control.   But you don't have to let the marginal players inside your inner circle.

 Sometimes pursuit of the mighty paycheck, contract or fear of losing a job makes people forget their core values, enables them to "look the other way" when moral or legal wrong is being done.    Please don't become one of those people.  Choose Your Friends and keep the good ones close. This is hard... not easy, but in the long run you will be able to sleep better at night and there is less chance of one of your former "colleagues" stabbing you in the back if you sort out the bad players earlier on.

Don't Worry about Trying to HAVE IT ALL, or Do IT All....   shoot for having the most value or doing your top priorities first.     Remember Progress, not perfection.
    It is not unusual for us to find days and weeks where all our spinning plates look like they are about to tumble down.     Just last week a CEO I know told me that all his "plate spinning techniques" were no longer working as they had in the past.  He said everyone on his team, including his board had to look at the fundamentals of their operation from the ground up and see what was working and what needed to be changed.   This CEO  said they were going to start with their mission, vision and their actitities and work to come up with  creative new ways to accomplish their mission.  He told me "the past is the past and I cannot change that but I know we can impact our future and we do want a better future.   First we are going to agree on what we want our future to look like, then we will reinvent new ways to deliver on those goals.".   I congratulated him for recognizing this and for being ready to do the work...but first to take the time out to revisit their vision and mission.

This bring me to you and the questions I would like to ask you.

  What is your Vision for Yourself?   What is your professional and personal Mission?

When you  take your personal goals and priorities into account you will be more decisive, focused and effective.   You will accomplish more for yourself and for others and when "you put your own mask on first" you will  make a more impactful and sustainable contribution to your profession and to your community.

Progress..... progress.  Practice, practice........ try try again.   You know this stuff and sometimes it is helpful to get back to basics after clearing out the noise and chaos.
If things are not working as well as you would like them to then it might be important for you to take a time out to reflect on your personal priorities.  Where are you now?  Where, how and with whom do you want to go in the coming year?    This is a good time to sit for a few hours or take a few days if that is possible and let the quiet overcome you....... and listen to what you heart is telling you.

  I did this recently and I was reminded that my family is the most important priority for me.     That I love them with all my heart and I owe them the best care I can take of myself in order to be the best mom, wife and friend I can be.

When I take care of myself, then, and only then,  I can take better care of others too.  
Then, I can concentrate on my professional abilities and my continuing education and growth.  

  I can be open to new experiences and learnings when I am clear about my priorities:
family and taking care of my own health too.
Here are some of mine:
  • continuous growth, in business and in spiritual education
  • integrity in all my activities
  • passion for all living things, people, animals and mother earth
  • staying physically active
  • "playing" with others of integrity (in work and in life)

At this holiday season I encourage you to sit down and revisit your personal priorities.
Make sure you think about the people, the opportunities and the activities you are grateful for.

Gratitude is one of the secrets of a happy life.     Being grateful for your life...just for being alive is a good first step.     Then, being grateful for all the advantages that you are enjoying in life if you can read this article.   If you are reading this, then you are one of the people who indeed does already have many advantages over the rest of the world - you can read and you take time to educate yourself in ways beyond physical survival.

Gratitude for the people in our life is a self generating emotion. There are big dividends when you express your gratitude to the people who matter to you:  for them and for you.
Please take some time this week to  let at least five people in your life know  know that you are grateful for their presence in your life.   Try to do this in person or on the phone if possibly.... it has a bit more impact than a quick email.   Just do it...however you need to in a personalized way - no form letters please!     This activity has multiple personal and spiritual benefits for you and those you reach out to. 

When you are clear about your own passions you will be in the best shape to make meaningful
contributions to others and to your professions.

Happy Holidays.........     and now... for one more expression of gratefulness from me.  I am grateful for the ten years I had to develop a friendship with a wonderful woman who left us recently. She blessed my life and others with her special spirit and her generosity.      Patty DeDominic

  I dedicate this article to my dear friend Michell Rochwarger who was always clear about her family and personal and professional priorities.   She gave so much to this world and never wavered in her commitment to integrity and to her business and in the community.    Michelle passed away due to a fatal automobile accident in Orange County on Dec. 12, 2009. She will be deeply missed.   Most importantly she lived each day with love and integrity. Her three beautiful children had a magnificent mother who was totally committed to them and who touched them with values and integrity which will serve them all the days of their lives.     Michelle may  have left the physical world  last weekend but the contributions she made to others will always be remembered with deep love and respect.    
Here's to your continued success..... and to Michelle who never lost her priorities in a noisy world. 

 Patty De


Ed said...

Good and meaningful values that are established in childhood and held true as an adult are the keys to preventing the many social and political ills of society.


Five-Time Author Teaches Us We Can Each Make a Difference – The Choice is Ours.
The Value of Values educates us on how to establish a culture that will ensure harmony for generations to come and diminish the aggressive ways of the powerful…just by teaching our children values.

Did you know that an individual’s values are established in childhood and serve as filters when determining right from wrong throughout the person’s life? In today’s society, this process of establishing values within our children is given little concern. How are our children supposed to grow up to be adults with values if we’re not teaching them values from the beginning?

The responsibilities of parenting have become a reactionary process whereby each parent is doing whatever he or she must do in order to just get through life. By default, we are teaching our children that values such as integrity, respect for life, courage of conviction, purposefulness and generosity are secondary to making a living. In truth, there is absolutely nothing stopping us from being true to good and meaningful values except ourselves.

The Value of Values teaches us the required actions and reasons this important transition is needed. This book identifies what it will take from each of us to sustain the drive to pass our values onto our children.

Publisher’s Web site:
ISBN: 978-1-60860-381-7 / SKU: 1608603814

About the Author:
Ed Gagnon is a vice president at a manufacturing company in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. The Value of Values is his fifth published book, and he has more in the works.

For media inquiries, appearances, or other publicity — please contact:
Ellen Green —

Patty DeDominic said...

Thank you Ellen and Ed Gagnon. Well said and I highly recommend your book to all.