What do golf balls have to do with dragonflies?

What do golf balls have to do with dragonflies? You may be surprised to know that this last week I realized the answer is: EVERYTHING! Let me start at the beginning…

My Mastermind group is invaluable to me. It is a small group of like-minded business owners. There are 5 of us and we talk on the phone every week to discuss our progress, our challenges and our goals for the week. Each member takes about 7 or 8 minutes to share about their business and then the group spends 2-3 minutes giving feedback and encouragement to that member. Without my group, my business would probably still be a lofty dream!

Last week, I was feeling frustrated because my travel schedule has been kinda crazy and so I was behind on some of the bigger projects I have listed as goals. And while I HAVE been busy, I have also had PLENTY of time to stay caught up on my social media account and my emails – neither of which are nearly as important as the big projects I want to do. So, one of the members of the group encouraged me to start each day with a “Power Hour.” This concept isn’t new, you have probably used it yourself at some point. It’s where you block out an hour and get as many of the important things done as possible. No emails. No social media. No chit-chat phone calls. No texting. Just solid work on the stuff that is truly important. And amazingly, the emails and other stuff will still get done anyway.

This is where the golf balls come into the story. You thought I forgot about them, didn’t you? Well, I heard a story not long ago that perfectly describes the idea of putting the important things in your day first and the illustration uses golf balls. The story is by Elisha Goldstein, PhD.

“A professor stood before a philosophy class holding an empty jar. As the students took their seats, she began filling the jar with golf balls. When they reached the top, she asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then took a bag of pebbles and poured them into the jar, and they made their way into the spaces between the golf balls.

Again she asked the students if the jar was full, and they agreed that it was.

But the professor had another trick up her sleeve. She brought out a bag of sand and proceeded to pour the grains into the jar, filling up more of the remaining space. Again the question came: “It’s full now, correct?” The answer was a resounding “Yes.”

The professor then took a sip of her coffee and dumped the rest into the jar, filling up spaces that no one thought were there.

“So what does it mean?” the professor asked.

A witty student raised his own coffee mug and asked, “There’s always room for coffee?”

The professor, along with the rest of the class, had a good laugh. Then she said, “Imagine that this jar represents the space in your life. The golf balls represent what’s most important — family, children, health, friends, things that you’re passionate about — the things that at the end of your life you would be glad you paid attention to.

“The pebbles are essential but less important, such as your house, your car, maybe your job.

“The sand is all of the small stuff in life that we’re trying not to sweat.

“The coffee, well, you already answered that one.”

The professor continued, “There is room for all of this only if you put the golf balls in first. If you put the sand or pebbles in first, there won’t be room for the golf balls. The way we pay attention to our lives works the same way. If you spend your attention or mental space sweating the small stuff in life, you won’t have the capacity to pay attention to what is most important to you.”

Marie Forleo talks about this, too. She calls it, “knowing the difference between the urgent and the important.” And her videos are super-entertaining to watch, too! Check it out: MarieTV video.

It has been the difference between night and day. I still have lots to do, but each day I am honestly getting those big projects done!