In my experience, some form of this question, asked endlessly throughout the day, can truly bring us closer to living into our visions: What Priorities Am I Living?

Our priorities are also often more nuanced than we may think. For example, we may tell ourselves that our families, partners or our health are our priority and yet if we spend all our time working then we need to, at the very least, clarify in what way they may be our priority.

We may well want to provide for our families – ensure our kids can go to college or make a down-payment on a house or simply ensure we have enough money for retirement and aren’t a burden on the family. Regardless of what the specific priority is, it is important to make it crystal clear because:

  • There is clearer alignment between what we are doing and what we think we are doing;
  • There may be more effective ways of accomplishing the desired outcome; and
  • It can lighten our stress and anxiety.

The story of Juan* is a perfect example. Juan was working as an executive for a Middle Eastern institution and was on a very generous compensation package. His contract was coming up for renewal and he dreamt of changing fields and moving his family (2 children and wife) to Europe or North America. Because of the timing, he would have to make a snap decision to renew or risk all and see what happened.

When we played with the idea and immersed ourselves in how it might feel, doubts started to emerge. What if it didn’t work out? What if he didn’t find the kind of role he dreamt of? What if it wasn’t as well paid? He gradually became aware that it was the certainty of his current position that allowed him to sleep at night – that this was his priority. The uncertainty of such a move, whilst exciting in theory, really wasn’t for him in practice. The long-held dream was in fact an illusion. So, Juan renewed his contract more at peace with himself because he now realised that he was where he needed to be – in a position that offered him certainty.

This is an example of a meta-decision, but the question is fractal in nature and applies equally well to our day-to-day lives. For example, what priorities have you been living thus far today?

* The name has been changed to a random name to ensure confidentiality!

Questions in the Image:

  • What priorities am I living?
  • How do these differ from what I tell myself?
  • How do I even know my true priorities?

Want to Further Explore This Topic?

Episode 20 of my Time Academy Podcast: Your Priorities Are What You Do? explores this theme in more depth.

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day. This theme accompanies me throughout my day manifesting as What is important now? In working with clients, I have come to realise that in essence our actions at any one time are driven by a single priority. We often gloss this over with post-rationalisations and yet in essence there is only room for a single priority. The question then is What is that priority?

What Thoughts Would You Like to Share? My name is Tom O’Leary, and I envision a world in which curiosity shapes leadership. In this world, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning. My mission is to shift leadership focus from authority, over-measurement and control to curiosity, learning and innovation, empowering leaders to prioritise the essential. My journey, lived in a number of countries and through various languages, has always been driven by a profound sense of curiosity. In fact, life has taught me that possibility lies not so much in seeking answers but in learning to ask better questions – the ones that help prioritise what is truly essential. I welcome your thoughts, feedback, or personal experiences related to these questions or any insights they may have sparked.