Feb 23, 2021

Appetite for Prioritization

Appetite for Prioritization

Appetite for Prioritization

Nathan King

You tell yourself that you want to produce something useful in the world. You see the endless needs that exist in every dimension of society. You accumulate new ideas, exciting possibilities that could become initiatives, you make plans. You start to work on some. And then you…generate more ideas, more exciting possibilities, and more plans. When will the world’s endless needs get something from you?Your energetic mind will always see more possibilities than finite time will allow to bring them to life. “Desire is the engine that drives behavior,” writes James Clear in Atomic Habits. Every action is taken because of the anticipation that precedes it. It is the craving that leads to the response.When you move swiftly on from one idea to another without seeing one through, when you have committed to more initiatives than you can complete, when your life has become a swirl of stress, your actions reveal a desire or set of desires that are unfulfilled. And here’s the hard truth about unfulfilled desires: most of the time, you don’t really know what your desires are. You need clarity. To move past the accumulation of ideas, to deliver outcomes that meaningfully make a mark, you need to prioritize. "Prioritization rescues people from the quicksand of decision angst," write Chip and Dan Heath in Made to Stick, but how do you prioritize when you don’t know the desire fueling your accumulation of ideas and new projects already? They point out that in order to follow through on an initiative and make it successful, the core purpose, or desire, of pursuing it must be identified and understood. Without that, you are likely to be distracted. Your ideas, many energizing, some started, some delayed by still other ideas, are a signal that there is a lack of clarity, because of an unmet desire which acts as a hole inside you that isn’t being filled. Authors Ronald Heifitz and Marty Linsky describe a "zone of insatiability" in which your daily activities reveal that you can't have enough. You fill your days and your life reaching for more: more meetings, more goals, more emails, more projects, more shopping. They pose a tough question: "what's precious and what's expendable?" Without knowing the core desire, it’s impossible to answer that question, making it more likely to stay in the zone of insatiability.Reallocate 30 minutes of your time to evaluate what desires are driving you to complete less than you are capable of while overfilling your life with ideas and tinkering. It can help you have a deeper understanding if you take the time to write down your answers. Questions for Clarity and PrioritizationWhat about your life causes you to pursue more instead of attend to less? What’s happening right now to do that?Identify one idea or project you want to pursue but aren’t. What prevents you from sticking with the new thing that you are excited about? What are the top 10 things you want to do (or 17 or 23, the total doesn’t really matter). There is an abundance of possibility in front of you. Imagine you have only one month to live. Which ONE possible pursuit will you pick? What is the reason for your answer?What one action can you take next week to move towards a life of better outcomes?BONUS: Discussing your reflection with someone you trust makes it more likely to achieve clarity and to act on what’s important. Who can you talk to about what you learned in questions 1-4?





I help leaders and teams achieve clarity and alignment so they can reach their potential


Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you a Life Review and Planning Guide to help you create a better future.

© King Strategic Consulting, LLC 2023