It’s said there are three ways to get to the top of a tree: climb it, sit on an acorn or make friends with a big bird. But without too much imagination I can think of a couple of other ways – like one that involves a parachute and a poor landing.
However, the point is still well taken: getting to the top of that organization or reaching a new height requires effort. And it is taken for granted that reaching the top is exactly what everyone wants to do. After all, isn’t that what “success” is all about? More power? More money? Reaching the top?
But what about success at living – trying to get it right this go around?
Success at this thing we call living has always been important to me. And climbing to the top of a tree has never been a good metaphor for it. I like to think more about the word “priorities.” Getting some basic priorities in order is key. And I know that if one’s life can be organized around solid priorities, then a full and worthwhile life will be the result.
It is always risky to use sports illustrations; they just don’t speak to everyone. But let me forge ahead with an oft-quoted statement by American football coaching legend Vince Lombardi. He is remembered for saying, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” And Lombardi’s dream was certainly to coach winning teams, but it’s a mistake to think that climbing to the top of football’s ladder of success was his greatest goal. He believed it was more important to succeed at life than at his career or anything else.
Actually, winning football games was not “the only thing” to Lombardi. He once actually listed his life priorities in this order: God, his family and his career.
He knew what was important. And he knew that keeping his priorities straight could bring him joy, peace and, ultimately, success at life. Which is probably the only thing that truly matters.
-- Steve Goodier