Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Very Small Quotes

I've been including motivational quotes in my e-mail sig with the philosophy that if what I'm saying in my note turns out to be useless crap, I ought to offer something of value if possible. The trick has been selecting short quotes that pack effective wisdom but don't lead to people accusing me of wasting everyone's time reading the book excerpts that I'm including on all of my mails.

This lead me to William Frank's list of "The World's Best Quotes in 1-10 Words."

My favorite is number 10 since I have a copy of "The Daily Drucker" on my desk:

Do first things first, and second things not at all.
—Peter Drucker.

It's so easy to do what's familiar, comfortable, or fun. It's so difficult, sometimes, to tackle the highest priority. And sometimes it's difficult to even know your top priorities; hence, the phrase, "I can't see the forest for the trees."

We suffer from over-choice: 67 varieties of toothpaste, 487 styles of shoes, 186 brands of cell phones with 137 telephone companies. We demand more variety than we could possibly need or want; and as a result, we get lost in options, opportunities, and choices. There are 87 varieties of lawyers, and 75 specialties inside medicine. The world of work can be a confusing landscape.

When you're flooded with career possibilities, or "swimming up Niagara Falls," it's good to spend time answering questions like, "What is the best and highest use of my talents?" and, "How can I make a bigger impact?"

If you can't establish clear career priorities by yourself, use friends and business acquaintances as a sounding board. They will want to help. Ask them to help you determine your "first things" and "second things." Or seek an outside coach or advisor to help you focus. Because if you don't know what your "first things" are, you simply can't do them FIRST.


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