Keep Your Eye on the Prize! — A Short Course for Staying Focused and Winning Every Day

Original art by J.E. Hargate

Review first thing every morning.

1) Define “winning “ in terms that are meaningful to you. Articulate in writing your overarching and most critical priorities, and manage your time and efforts to keep them on top of your “to do” list at all times.

2) Your priorities must include being of unparalleled service to your family, your employer, your community, those in need and those less fortunate than you, as well as taking care of yourself. Nothing else matters as much as these things.

3) Understand that you cannot please everyone and trying to do so will almost certainly compromise your value system. We all would prefer to be thought well of, but what others think about you is much less critical that what you think about you.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you will be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Do you have the right priorities of service and are your actions and accomplishments in synch with them? Are you devoting yourself tirelessly to right priorities every day? If your priorities are right and you are acting with diligence and integrity, what others think of you will likely take care of itself.

4) Play to your unique strengths and constantly improve your tool kit of skills.

5) Accept that there are some things that make no sense and can’t be changed. Politely ignore unproductive situations and contrary, cynical or bitter people that won’t change and don’t threaten your critical priorities.

6) Choose your battles wisely: don’t waste time and energy with trivial differences of opinion that will not impact your priorities. Be willing to do battle when your values and priorities are existentially threatened, but understand that all battles have casualties.

7) You will have competitors and adversaries, so get accustomed to it. But never play an adversary’s game. Play your game, and play it exceedingly well. That’s the game you know you can win.

8) When challenged in nonessential ways, smile warmly and get back to your priorities.

9) Strengthen your network, internal & external.

10) Protect the asset: the asset is you. Pay attention to diet, exercise, relaxation, recreation, family and proper rest. Get an annual physical. Take care of your teeth.

11) Eliminate non-essential or seductive distractions that don’t serve your priorities. Get comfortable saying no without offering explanations.

12) Prioritize your time and energies so you consistently Keep Your Eye on the Prize every day.

13) Be flexible. Flow like the river. Smile a lot. You got this.

14) You know you do.

Original art by J.E. Hargate

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Arthur Hargate

Arthur Hargate is retired after a 40-year management career in the environmental services business. He now writes, plays guitar and is a social activist.