What Can You Learn From the Pivotal Points in Your Life? Part 3

What Can You Learn From the Pivotal Points in Your Life? Part 3

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In previous newsletters I shared two pivotal points in my life, asking you to stop to analyze those instances where you faced a fork in the road and had to make an important choice that transcended the rest of your life.

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In this newsletter, I will cover a third one, which also provided me with important lessons, some of which could be applicable to your life as well. I am sharing them with you so they can motivate you to identify pivotal points in your professional or personal life and draw insights and lessons that can help you enrich the rest of your life.

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This third pivotal point happened within the first five years of my corporate life. I was invited by my employer (P&G at the time) to participate in a four-day workshop on personal and professional development. What elevated this training into a life-changing event (at least for me) was the exercise in which we were asked to draft our personal mission statement. One of the suggestions was to transport ourselves into our funeral and define what kind of a eulogy we would like to hear about ourselves. Being 31 at the time, it seemed a bit far-fetched to visualize an event I expected to happen a few decades in the future. I nevertheless followed the methodology and, after several minutes of introspection and meditation on what I wanted my legacy to my wife, kids, and society to be, I started writing what became the first version of my personal mission statement.

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I left the workshop energized. For the first time I had recorded in writing what success looked like in my life as a whole, and in the specific personal and professional roles I had defined for myself. Though it was clearly an imperfect first draft, knowing where I was headed translated into making life decisions consistent with my personal mission statement.

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Through this experience, I learned several lifelong lessons:

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    There is more to life than just work. Although I had always viewed my family as the most important priority in my life, I hadn’t been disciplined enough to “walk the talk.” I learned to allocate weekly blocks of time (and energy) to my wife and kids. I also started to be more committed and disciplined on my personal development (body, mind, and spirit) in order to be capable of achieving my personal and professional goals.

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    It is important to invest time and energy to become a more effective and efficient professional. Perhaps the most valuable concept I learned and started to apply immediately was to differentiate between “important” and “urgent’ activities. Life in general, and work in particular, tends to push us into allocating our time and energy to those urgent activities which need to be addressed right away, independent of how important they really are. I learned to allocate the majority of my time to important activities, those that would impact business (and my life) the most, and were consistent with my professional and personal goals. Good planning translates into working on those important tasks before they become urgent.

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    Identify and eliminate time-wasters, to make room for the important activities in our lives. The first time-waster I significantly decreased was watching TV. Though entertaining, it stole time from important activities such as communicating with my wife, interacting with my kids, and reading a good book. Fast-forwarding to today’s internet era, are we allocating too much time to social media and general web browsing? Would part of that time be better spent on more important activities, such as our professional and personal development?

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Don’t wait for a life-changing event to define what’s truly important in your life. Whether you are in the early stages of your adulthood, in midlife, or approaching retirement, it is never too late to define or adjust what you want your legacy to be.

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You can follow some of the available online resources in my website or those found in my book, The Business Apostolate: Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life, which, for the 2014-15 holiday season, is available to newsletter readers at a 25 percent discount. Just click here and enter code 8SCBLYTF. It also makes a nice present to relatives, friends, co-workers, or customers.

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I want to close this newsletter with a quote from Nobel-prize winner Marie Curie: “We must believe we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.

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In the next newsletter, I will share tips on how to assess your life performance in 2014 and plan for a great 2015. Stay tuned!

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Percy M. Cannon

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Author, Business Consultant and Professional Coach

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www.cannonbalance.com

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PS1: Use this link to ask questions, post comments, and request topics you would like to see in future issues.

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