What’s Important Now? - How Influential People Prioritize

Sep 02, 2019

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In this blog, I will explain one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself daily if you want to increase your influence and get clear on your priorities. 

What do the influencers of the influencers do? 

Harvard Business Review had an article by Ron Carucci that shared the findings of a 10-year study of the best of the best executives and they found that, “Exemplary executives have the ability to declare their views, engage others’ ideas, analyze data for insights, weigh alternatives, own the final call, and communicate the decision clearly. This skill inspires markedly higher confidence and focus among those they lead.”

One of the qualities of an influential person is the ability to be decisive.  The spectrum of decisiveness among my readers is going to vary, so I really encourage you to download the Influence Assessment I have made available for you below. You do not have to be great in every area of influence, but you need to know the areas where you are strong and maximize those strengths.

The question you need to ask yourself daily or at least weekly is, “What’s important now?”  We make plans, we think through opportunities and challenges, we determine our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, but we also have to be able to make adjustments in the moment, which requires us to be decisive. 

The best coaches in any sport are the ones who are able to make “half-time” adjustments.  I like to say we are married to the mission, but we are dating the plan.  If the plan you made is not working, you have to be able to adapt to a plan that will work.  This is where the question, “What’s important now?” comes into play. 

There is a story in the book Essentialism that I want to share with you.  Actually, the concept of What’s Important Now came from this book, so I highly recommend it and I have a link for you below. 

A woman named Cynthia once told me a story about the time her father had made plans to take her on a night out in San Francisco. Twelve-year-old Cynthia and her father had been planning the “date” for months. They had a whole itinerary planned down to the minute: she would attend the last hour of his presentation, and then meet him at the back of the room at about four-thirty and leave quickly before everyone tried to talk to him. They would catch a trolley car to Chinatown, eat Chinese food (their favorite), shop for a souvenir, see the sights for a while and then “catch a flick” as her dad liked to say. Then they would grab a taxi back to the hotel, jump in the pool for a quick swim (her dad was famous for sneaking in when the pool was closed), order a hot fudge sundae from room service, and watch the late, late show. They discussed the details over and over before they left. The anticipation was part of the whole experience.

 This was all going according to plan until, as her father was leaving the convention center, he ran into an old college friend and business associate. It had been years since they had seen each other, and Cynthia watched as they embraced enthusiastically. His friend said, in effect: “I am so glad you are doing some work with our company now. When Lois and I heard about it we thought it would be perfect. We want to invite you, and of course Cynthia, to get a spectacular seafood dinner down at the wharf!” Cynthia’s father responded: “Bob, it’s so great to see you. Dinner at the wharf sounds great!”

 Cynthia was crestfallen. Her daydreams of trolley rides and ice cream sundaes evaporated in an instant. Plus, she hated seafood and she could just imagine how bored she would be listening to the adults talk all night. But then her father continued: “But not tonight. Cynthia and I have a special date planned, don’t we?” He winked at Cynthia and grabbed her hand and they ran out of the door and continued with what was an unforgettable night in San Francisco.

 As it happens, Cynthia’s father was the management thinker Stephen R. Covey and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, who had passed away only weeks before Cynthia told me this story. So it was with deep emotion she recalled that evening in San Francisco. His simple decision, “...bonded him to me forever because I knew what mattered most to him was me!” she said.1

 Influential people like Stephen Covey are decisive and they are able to quickly determine what is most important now.  Use this question to make better daily decisions so you can maximize every opportunity.

 How do you determine what is most important? 

  1. If you haven’t already, write out a strategic plan. I have a free audio training called The Power of a Pre-Made Decision.
  2. Determine what gives you the greatest return on your investment of time. A question to ask yourself: What gives me the greatest return on my investment of time in work and life?
  3. Determine what is most rewarding for you personally. A question to ask yourself: What do I find most rewarding in work and life?
  4. Keep in mind what is required of you. A question to ask yourself: What is required of me in work and life?

Once you create a strategic plan for your life and get clear on the three questions above, you will be able to quickly and decisively move forward in life without the fear of missing out nagging at you.

The Power of a Pre-Made Decisionwebinar that I referenced earlier in this post is one of the greatest pieces of content I have ever created.  I say that because it is an expression of me living out my life purpose.  My dream is to help you live yours and through The Power of a Pre-Made Decision webinar I am able to help you and hopefully, thousands of other people discover their purpose and design their life...the life they dream of living.

For the free Influence Assessment download, click on the link below that says Influence Assessment.   

Increase your influence, realize your dream


Resources mentioned in this article: 

1 - Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Influence by Robert Cialdini

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

Influence Assessment


DISCLAIMER: This blog contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support the blog and allows us to continue to create free content like this. Thank you for your support!


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