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Identifying “balls” that bounce and those that shatter

Have you ever tried to juggle so many things you end up dropping all of them?

A mentor once told me the secret to good leaders is prioritization. Her illustration was for you to think of everything as balls you are constantly juggling (work, home life, etc) – some are rubber and some are glass. You can already see where this is going can’t you?

Glass balls need to remain in the air (on the move) or they fall and shatter like Humpty Dumpty, never to be put back together again. While rubber balls are the ones you can drop and pick back up. No (long-term) harm happens if they are set aside for the moment. Great advice and a mental image as you think about your busy schedule and conflicting demands.

It’s not always easy identifying which balls are rubber and which are glass because each of us brings our own view shaped by past experience. So I thought I’d try to start a list for you to help start your own sorting:

  • Glass balls have long-term unrecoverable results if not addressed and cared for. Ask yourself what happens if this waits a day, a week, or a month.
  • Glass balls are not always the “urgent”, but they are always the “important”.
  • You may be able to juggle two or three but throwing a fourth or a fifth into the mix means you may drop them all. Be careful what you add to your mix
  • Rubber balls can be hard to let go. They could be habits. They could be comfortable to you. But letting them go in times of chaos is a must if you want to keep the glass balls in play.

What do you think are your “glass” balls that if dropped would be unrecoverable? What do you face this week that if they were pushed out would bounce like a rubber ball? Take a moment and write down all that you are facing this week. Then “rack and stack” your list. You may be able to find the thread of clarity you’ve been looking for.

Be Intentional,
Melissa