How Do You Define Your True Priorities?

Asking yourself what makes you happy can help you discover where your true priorities lie.
Asking yourself what makes you happy can help you discover where your true priorities lie. (Adobe stock image)

As you look to transition from the military into a new career in the civilian sector, you may find yourself floundering a bit -- not quite sure what career path/paths you wish to pursue. Don’t fret. With many possible options open to you, you might be yearning for a complete change, or you may be looking for something similar to your former military billet.

Whatever the case, the key to living a life of significance is to understand your personal definition of success. We can be too quick to fall in line with how society or our friends and family define success. Instead, true fulfillment comes from being aware of what your priorities are and living your life in accordance with them. Leaders, those individuals who can influence outcomes and inspire others, know what they value and live a life focused on those values.

Here are five questions that will help you better understand what is truly significant to you:

1.  What Would "the Perfect Day" Look Like to You? 

When responding to this question, be as detailed as possible:

  • With whom would you spend this day? 
  • If your day would include work, talk about the type of work.
  • Where would this day take place?
  • What would you be doing?

Answering this question will reveal what elements of your perfect days are present currently in your life and what’s missing from your current daily routines. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. Unfulfilling daily routines can quickly add up to an unfulfilling existence.

2.  What Are You Not Doing Now that You Wish You Were?

What’s that forgotten hobby that you keep thinking about picking up again? What are the classes you would like to take but for which you have yet to register? Finding success and fulfillment doesn’t require a major life makeover.

Often, just picking up a hobby or learning something new opens the door to significance and meaning in your life. If you want to do something you haven’t followed up on, take just three steps toward doing it this week.  Then see where that momentum carries you.

3.  Where Do You Want to Be in 2016?

Five years can go by in an instant. Have a clear plan of what you want to accomplish during the next five years. Leaders are proactive when it comes to living life; they resist the urge to live life at the mercy of circumstances. Develop goals you want to achieve by 2016 and then work backward year by year with a list of milestones you’ll need to complete to get where you want to be.

4.  What’s in Your Life Now that You Want Out of Your Life in the Future?

What activity is taking too much of your time, or what bad habit do you want to kick in order to live a life that is consistent with your true priorities? Define one thing that you are spending a lot of your personal energy or resources on now that you want to stop doing. 

Perhaps it’s smoking, overspending or involvement in an organization that you’ve outgrown. Vow to take back what you no longer want to be giving to this area of your life.

5.  What Makes You Happy?

Make a list of 25 things that make you smile and fill you with joy. In the span of a week, strive to experience as many of those things as possible. You deserve to be happy; don’t stand in the way of allowing yourself to have a little fun, delight and peace each day.

Congratulations on your transition. Here’s to leading a life of success and significance.

Lead Star, LLC was founded by Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch, best-selling authors of the business book "Leading from the Front." Lead Star teaches leadership based on Angie's and Courtney's experiences as Marine Corps officers, private-sector professionals and entrepreneurs.

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