Nourishing our relationships and roles is a critical component of our overall health. Unfortunately, when stress or the busy nature of our lives become overwhelming, we sometimes let our most important relationships and roles slide a bit.
When this happens, I feel it’s important to remember what our priorities really are, and to place our focus there.
There’s a great analogy to give you a visual of what this means… it goes loosely like this:
Start with a large glass jar that represents your life. You get to choose what you fill your jar with. Your fillers are rocks, pebbles and sand. These fillers are your various relationships, roles, activities, responsibilities, activities, etc.
Your “rocks” represent your most significant relationships and priorities in life. The things that make your heart sing and complete you at the deepest level. For example, maybe your rocks consist of God, marriage, children, family, intimate friendships, career and pursuits you’re passionate about. (Maybe not!)
Your “pebbles” are the secondary relationships. For example, maybe some friends and family that didn’t quite make your “rocks” list, as well as career and hobby-related relationships or activities.
Your “sand” is just the ‘filler’… nothing personal against the folks or activities that are in your sand category! Your life could very easily be fulfilling, perhaps much more fulfilling and rewarding, without those relationships and activities, that’s all.
These could be relationships or activities that don’t do much to inspire you or enrich your life or the life of your “rocks”. They’re not necessarily bad or negative, in fact, they might be kinda’ fun! They just don’t light your fire the same way your rocks do!
Now visualize how you would go about filling up your jar. If you put all the sand in first, will you have room later to add all the rocks? Probably not.
Obviously, the lesson goes like this… fill your jar with your rocks first. Next, add your pebbles… they’ll fit in nicely around your rocks. Finally, add your sand… it fills in all the gaps and makes your jar ‘complete’ (not to mention that it has a nice “beach” feel now!).
Do you have too much sand left over to add to your jar?
Maybe it was sand that didn’t quite fit comfortably in your life in the first place. Perhaps it’s some of the time-wasting or self-destructive habits or hobbies you’ve become accustomed to. Possibly, it’s stressful or unhealthy relationships. Maybe it’s just something you’ve outgrown as you’ve evolved. Could be anything.
If there’s no room for it after your rocks and pebbles, throw it back onto the beach!
So, how do we make this “real” in your life?
1) Determine who and what are most important in your life. These are your “rocks”. Who and what come in second? These are your “pebbles”. And finally, who and what are your fillers? Alas, these are your “sand”.
2) Next, make sure these “rocks” are a priority in your daily or weekly schedule. When I look at my calendar before a new week begins, I first pencil in the things like appointments and commitments I need to keep. The very next thing I do is to schedule time for my rocks. In my case, this is dedicated time for my own rituals, my husband, my children, my dad, my close friends, and my work things: writing, speaking and educating. This is the “stuff” I’m most passionate about.
This is an incredibly valuable lesson I was taught many years ago, and it serves as a fantastic and challenging action step:
“Schedule your priorities as opposed to prioritizing your schedule.”
Be proactive in creating the time in your life for the most important people, relationships and roles FIRST. Laundry, dishes, errands, email, bills, paperwork, etc. will always be on the list, but they shouldn’t take the place of the ‘biggies’ in your life. I know, sometimes it’s easier said than done.
I’ve taken this lesson to heart for the last several years – I nurture and ‘feed’ my top relationships and passions, with great focus and intention, on a regular basis. Some of my own personal examples of this are:
I start and end each day with God (as well as countless prayers throughout my day). I fill myself up with empowering and enriching rituals each morning. I carve out quality time for my marriage, even if it’s just a few minutes on some days.
Several times each week I schedule in “Kid Time” – time just for them… not time for multi-tasking! I call my dad every night to keep him company. I schedule time for reading motivational, inspirational and educational material everyday. I write daily to fulfill my passion for educating and empowering others. I exercise several times every week. These are the ‘biggies’ for me. You get the picture.
3) The next action step is a doozy…
Be fully present when you’re nourishing these relationships.
Fully focus on the relationship or role you’re currently nourishing and you’ll see it flourish! Really, where else should we be but HERE and NOW?!
This is truly a surefire way to create a more fulfilling and joyful life full of rich relationships.
Until next time, Be Happy, Be Well and Smile!
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* Your ultimate happiness in life depends on your ability to find and connect with another person, and to sustain and grow that relationship over time. Unfortunately, doing this successfully is one of life’s greatest challenges. The goal is really to figure out how you can partner with the person you are in a relationship with to create and enhance the level of love, compassion, respect, trust, passion, enjoyment and fun you feel, so that both of your needs are met at the highest level.
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Tony Robbins is a #1 New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. For more than 37 years, millions of people have enjoyed the warmth, humor and dynamic presentation of Mr. Robbins’ corporate and personal development events. As the nation’s #1 life and business strategist, he¹s called upon to consult and coach some of the world¹s finest athletes, entertainers, Fortune 500 CEOs, and even presidents of nations.
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