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PUBLISHER’S NOTEBOOK–‘Big Rocks’ Help Balance Priorities

The new century brings with it new challenges.

The one variable that affects business in the new century is people. The definition of a successful company is one that has the best people on the job being treated the best by the boss.

Here is an Internet pearl that was sent to one of our employees by her mother. It spins an interesting story about priorities in life and how we separate the big stuff from the little stuff.

“Never enough time in the day?

“One day an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students never forgot. As he stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, ‘OK, time for a quiz.’ Then he pulled out a 1-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. He produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, ‘Is the jar full?’

“Everyone in the class said, ‘Yes!’

“Then he said, ‘Really?’ He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. “Then he asked the group again, ‘Is the jar full?’

“By this time the class was onto him. ‘Probably not,’ one of them answered.

“‘Good,’ he replied.

“He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once again he asked, ‘Is the jar full?’

“‘No,’ the class shouted.

“Once again he said, ‘Good!’

“Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. “Then he looked at the class and asked, ‘What is the point of this illustration?’

“One eager beaver raised his hand and said, ‘The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you really try hard, you can always fit some more things in it.’

“‘No,’ the speaker replied. ‘That’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.’ ”

What are the big rocks in your life? Your children; your loved ones; your education; your dreams; a worthy cause; teaching or mentoring others; doing things you love; time for yourself; your health; your significant other.

Remember to put these big rocks in first or you’ll never get them in at all.

If you sweat the little stuff (the gravel, the sand) then you’ll fill your life with the little things you worry about that don’t really matter, and you’ll never have the real quality time you need to spend on the big important stuff, like the big rocks.

So tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the “big rocks” in my life? Then put those in your jar first.

To the balance sheet:

Credit: To Jan Sobel, CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce for winning an Award of Merit from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives for its monthly newsletter, which ranked among the top three in the nation. The chamber’s Web site ranked in the top seven nationally. Congratulations to Jan and her team of all-stars in Carlsbad.

Credit: To the 1999 Culligan Holiday Bowl for another banner year for pumping in excess of $20 million into the local economy. The networks report that more than 8 million fans viewed the game and $23.2 million ran into our area coffers. Bowl President John Rebelo stated, “We are ecstatic that we exceeded the $20 million mark for the second year in a row.” So are we, John. Congratulations on a job well done. I guess the saying goes, “Hey, Culligan Can.”

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