Put in the Big Rocks: How to Do Things that Matter Most Before it’s too Late

It’s heartbreaking to waste yourself on small rocks – things that matter less – while neglecting things that matter more.

Stephen R. Covey taught leaders to put in the “Big Rock” first.

Big rocks.

Live your priorities. By the time a BIG ROCK gets noisy, you've neglected it too long.

It’s harder than you think to focus on priorities because urgencies displace priorities.

4 reasons small rocks displace BIG ROCKS:

#1. We haven’t identified our Big Rocks.

Yesterday I had a conversation with J. Douglas Holladay that got me asking, “What are leadership’s BIG ROCKS?”

  1. Choose what’s important; don’t let others choose for you.
  2. Use self-care as a tool that frees you to serve others.
  3. Choose your attitude. Never let your attitude be a response to your circumstances.
  4. Find ways to do what you love in service to others.

The BIG ROCKS: https://youtu.be/H5r5p-LHHn8 (1:40)

#2. We think Big Rocks require dramatic action.

We wrongly believe that Big Rocks require dramatic action.

Self-care is as simple as getting up from your desk once an hour and taking a five-minute walk. But the seduction of dramatic action invites us to buy a gym membership that never gets used.

How might you distill BIG ROCKS into small actions?

#3. Speed makes urgencies seductive.

Small rocks capture attention because they’re completed quickly.

Big Rocks take more time, energy, and brainpower than small rocks. It’s quicker to resolve a small issue than build lasting relationships. At least it seems that way.

#4. BIG ROCKS are quiet. Small rocks are noisy.

Maintaining your car is a BIG ROCK, but it’s quiet. You were supposed to change the oil last month, but your car runs fine. You’ll do it next month.

By the time a BIG ROCK get’s noisy, you’ve neglected it too long.

It’s easier to attend to BIG ROCKS before they get noisy. This is especially true of relationships.

What are the BIG ROCKS?

How might leaders give BIG ROCKS proper attention?

J. Douglas Holladay is co-founder of Park Avenue Equity Partners, L.P., Founder of PathNorth, Former member of the White House Staff, advisor to several Presidents, and author of, Rethinking Success.

I’m a fan of Doug’s book: Rethinking Success.