I was recently talking with the teens I mentor at the Children’s Creativity Museum. They were expressing concern about how they were going to stay focused on studies, friendships, family, etc., with all of the different things they expected to compete for their time and attention in college. I reassured them that getting clear about priorities was something they would always confront.
Some leadership experts, like Bill George, speak about a values compass, being clear about the intangible yet important beliefs that shape how we look at the world. For example, if one is committed to Compassion, how are you helping to relieve the suffering of another?
This was a bit too abstract for my teens. So I shared with them the “Priorities Triangle.” The triangle is considered a “power symbol,” because it is based on the number 3. A tripod is solid when its legs are spread out as a triangle. I asked my teens to consider the following question:
What are your top 3 priorities in life?
What would you say are the non-negotiables of your life? What are the things that you, for sure, would not ever let drop? Family? Best friends? God? Volunteerism?
By assessing how we invest our time and energy against these top 3 priorities, we get a better sense of whether or not we are making choices that prioritize what matters most to us.