Thought Starters

Priorities: What a simple gesture can do.

I read Seth Godin`s blog every day.

Why? Simply because he writes or blogs every day. I suppose he, like the rest of us, have priorities and he makes writing a blog post every day part of his routine. It got me thinking about priorities. One thing I cannot do is understand what Seth Godin`s day is really like. I don’t know the man. Clearly he has time to fit blogging into his routine and it appears that he does make it a priority.

I am stuck.

I love to write as you may well know and I am working hard at getting better at it. I love my career as a designer, project manager and team leader. I love my job in that career and most of all I love my wife who is my support system, my confidant and calls me on my bulls**t. That is why I respect her so much. She is honest, true and highly intelligent and has taught me invaluable lessons on how to treat people and situations.


On Monday night we had a conversation about how our weeks were shaping up. We are both busier that we need to be taking into consideration personal projects, our work lives and social endeavors. My wife did something that I will likely not soon forget. It was a small, simple gesture and that`s why it struck me as so monumental. She did it without a second thought and regardless of whether my interpretation of the moment is correct or not is of no further consequence.

Here we go.

I said to her that on Thursday night I will likely need to work late in order to finish a proposal that is due on Friday morning. The priorities I set for myself put me in the position that I will likely burn the midnight oil this week several times to get it done to ensure the response has real, relevant and clear intent. Sure, we can just use old boilerplate content and throw a fee at it but that`s not how we roll, is it? Surely, we have learned that and after all how responsible would that be?

So, what did she do?

In a very nonchalant way she said ”Oh, then I can change my plans and meet some colleagues for dinner after all.” I am sure you can guess how I took that. She prioritized our relationship over a business dinner and only agreed to commit after I suggested that I needed the time to work. I kind of felt like a s**t. Yeah, in reality it’s no big deal in the grand scheme of things. I know. But, it was a simple gesture that resonated with me.

That brings me back to Seth Godin.

Seth’s post today (yes I am writing this on Valentine’s Day) is about obligations that we agree to and our responsibility to how we choose to respond. Seth is very good in saying a lot with very little. That’s one of the reasons why I like reading his material so much.

What I took from his post was that we all decide what means the most to us in life and as life changes so do our priorities but it’s the constants in our lives that sometimes get the short end of the stick. My wife is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I love her with all my heart. I suppose that’s why this post took priority over work this very, very early morning.

Oh, and yes, of course I told her all this as well.

Well, back to it.

 What are the priorities in your life that you sometimes overlook?

Do you have any suggestions or strategies on how to prioritize what you do?

What can we do better prioritize those constants in our lives?


About rdopping

interior design guy who loves other stuff; social media, photography, film, food and anything that is good for the growth of the self


4 thoughts on “Priorities: What a simple gesture can do.

  1. Very kind post, Ralph. I think we all struggle with what accomplishment and success is as individuals, not thinking sometimes that you can achieve so much more for and through other people. When you give, you get back tenfold. When you do for yourself, you get enough only for you. That doesn’t mean there isn’t the struggle for self-identity.

    I ask myself, how many times this week, or even in a day, did I sit at a table to have a meal? Sometimes I forget if I’ve talked to my mother…sometimes I give so much I wonder if it make a difference to the person I am doing it for.

    Reflection is the most wise and soul-satisfying thing I do on a daily basis. There’s a reason days are broken down into 24 hr time periods — for balance, for a chance to do better or change the next day. It’s true that when it’s our time to pass on, we’ll remember those with whom we were connected by heart, not the great project that was a success, or a promotion. I’m a hypocrite even as I write this, because it is VERY DIFFICULT for me not to be an A-type when it comes to being dedicated to my work. And in fact I get very annoyed at people who tell me I work too much. But what they don’t know is that the purpose for my life, which involves people, is being accomplished through my talent.

    Every day I build on the pot of gold I already found…doing what I love, and that my work has a purpose, and that end purpose is for the people who cross my path.

    Posted by KAREN | February 15, 2012, 08:25
    • Hey Karen,
      Why are you not sharing your writing with the world? Or maybe you are and I have not found it yet. Sharing is one of the main reasons I blog. To help, share ideas and thoughts about what drives me. Looking around and prioritizing those that are closest to you is something that needs focus for me and I am sure is taken for granted by more people than me. It’s a focus that I need to consciously address. I love my wife and my family and would not trade anything for any one but the passion for what I do, writing and learning are also voracious priorities in my life. It’s tough to get it all in and I suppose that is what I was talking about. Figuring it out. Recognition is really what’s important here and your comment about reflection is well taken. Thank YOU for that tip. It is appreciated.

      Posted by rdopping | February 16, 2012, 06:57
  2. I read Seth’s blog every day as well. Sometimes it’s spot-on, sometimes not. I like how it provokes us to (re)think stuff. I like his insistence on shipping — i.e. doing it, not just yammering about getting around to it…

    Priorities matter. Mine were very abruptly and powerfully re-arranged for me on March 17, 2007 when I landed in a hospital bed with a 104 temp. and pneumonia, for three days. I had kept on working even though I was ill. Never ever again. I make less money and that is a decision I took that day. No $$$ is worth that sort of fear and stress; they thought I had lung cancer the spot on my Xray was so large. Insane to mistreat my only body so thoughtlessly.

    I had hip surgery Feb. 6 of this year and with this new attitude I (saved $$ for) and took three blissful, needed weeks to rest, sleep, heal and fully recover.

    My prorities are: 1) nurture and maintain my physical and emotional health; 2) my marriage; 3) my friendships; 4) work. I will always be able to pay my bills because I save 20% of my income, and maintain a low overhead; those choices allow me to order my priorities in in this manner. I care deeply about doing the best work possible, but without the stamina and support of these others, work per se means nothing to me.

    Posted by broadsideblog | April 13, 2012, 09:30
    • Thanks for sharing that Caitlin. That’s quite a story and I am glad you are around to share it. We don’t know each other but it’s still good to see a fellow hearty Canadian survival story. I have no doubt that we are a hearty stock.

      Have a great weekend and feel free to drop by anytime.

      Posted by rdopping | April 13, 2012, 14:14

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