If Everything Is a Priority, Nothing Is a Priority

in Blog,Coaching,Leadership,Positive Psychology


I often feel pushed to be all things to all people. I’ve worked in institutions, organizations, and teams where we felt a need to affirm and operationalize our commitment to everything. However, if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.

I was in a leadership workshop where another participant described setting priorities as weeding the garden. He wanted to eliminate the things that he didn’t value so that the things that he did could grow. I love the metaphor and often think of it when I am feeling overwhelmed. Weed the garden.

A colleague at work once shared with me that a wise member of an external review committee had once encouraged her organization to find a way to do less, so that they can be more. I use this reframe often with my staff. I also think of it when I find myself losing my way as a leader, parent, partner, adviser, etc. Do less, so you can be more.

Leo Babauta introduced me to the 80/20 rule in his book Power of Less. The rule argues that 80% of the things that you do bring only 20% of the results. So what if you focused on the 20% that contributed to 80% of the results. The key is picking and focusing on the powerful 20% and letting the rest go. What if you spent 80% of your time on that powerful 20%?

How will you weed the garden?

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