Affirmation-BlogHeader

How to prioritize what truly matters

December 9, 2013|51Comments|


Hi Sweet Friends,

The other day I was being interviewed by my lovely friend Nitika Chopra. She asked me the ultimate question, something that we all struggle with: “Balance is a very frequent buzz word in the wellness industry and I know it is crucial for me in my business, setting boundaries, not overcommitting, making “me” time, etc. How do you find balance and prioritize self-care with your business?”

We often chew on this topic around my virtual water cooler, because we know that the answer to this question allows us to create the conditions for holistic success. So how can we tell the difference between what really counts and what ends up being a distraction—or what I call a shiny object? You know, those things that seduce us into dropping important life plans and joining a rock band. Stuff that seems ah-mazing at the time, but ends up pulling you away from your health routine, spiritual practice and financial well being (while adding crows feet & belly fat).

When it comes to shiny objects, people are like barracuda. We get mesmerized by the sparkly, swirly stuff. Have you ever seen those spooky fish underwater? I have. In fact, back in 1980 I was the youngest kid to be certified as a scuba diver in New York state. I remember my dad telling me not to wear jewelry because barracuda would try and eat me. They don’t care if it’s a hoop earring or a hook at the end of the lure, they just want to chomp the twinkle. Needless to say, I tinkled in the ocean the first time I dove through a school of those toothy fish.

Shiny objects can also feel close but not quite right, maybe even forced. They leave me wondering: what’s the benefit for me after I give my time and energy? Opportunities are core to my mission, they feel like a near perfect fit, and I can easily identify rewards that are in line with my goals and values. Opportunities feel exciting and expansive.

So how do we prioritize what truly matters?

While our lives are filled with countless opportunities, every commitment we make brings us one step closer or further away from our dreams. Some quickly propel us forward. Others stop us in our tracks. The good news is that no matter what we choose, we always get the chance to grow. Our triumphs teach us and so do our challenges. That said, I’d sure as heck love to limit the so-called setbacks as much as possible!

Be brutally honest with yourself. When you think about the potential shiny object in your life, does it light you up like a Christmas tree? Can you see yourself committing to it for the long haul? Or is it an escape from something else–something far more important. For example, the second I get a book deal, I can’t wait to renovate or buy some new, useless gismo that requires a thousand hours of training. I’ve wasted my time with shiny object business deals, men, health experiments, fitness routines and so on. By the way, I’m usually more attracted to disco lights when I’m bored or impatient. Sound familiar?

Two ways to overcome a shiny object affliction.

One: Get clear about your core values. I love how my friend Danielle Laporte talks about creating goals with soul. Excavate how do you want to feel in your skin, heart and career and then act accordingly. Reverse engineer it from that space. Feelings first. Outcomes second. Ultimate alignment. Check!

Two: Walk. Pray. Sleep. Never say yes right away, even if you’re 100% sure. Best to take a walk, talk it over with the chipmunks, pray about it and sleep on it. Personally, I also don’t ask for too many outside opinions until my gut has had a chance to weigh in. After all, my intuition knows best (and so does yours). Many times my answer looks something like this: Good, but the timing is off. So I put a pin in it and stick with my regularly scheduled program! And if the opportunity isn’t a fit, it’s a no thank you, my dance card is full.

I’ll be honest, I have to be very mindful about committing to the practice I’m sharing with you. If I’m not careful, I can easily regress into a people-pleasing “yes” pez dispenser, who periodically loses her mind and agrees to everything–especially around the holidays! Do you know what I mean? Have you ever felt an absolute “no-way-Jose” in your bones, and just as you’re about to politely decline an offer, your brain gets possessed by a boundary eating zombie who moans “yesss, yessss, yessss!”

Join me. Put your energy towards the experiences that make you exhale. The universe is extremely generous. We will never miss out because there’s always another chance headed our way.

I talk about this exact topic in my new program, The Spotlight Crash Course.

Are you ready to ditch the shiny objects in your business? Spotlight gives you invaluable guidance so that you can focus on what matters most: Your vision. Although this course is currently unavailable, you can sign up to find out what’s coming next for Spotlight here.

In the comments below, share one shiny object that you’ll happily decline.

Peace, barracudas & zombie hunters,

Kris Carr



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51 responses to How to prioritize what truly matters
  1. Great article! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I should have said a big fat no to a meeting tomorrow. I was just talking to husband about re prioritizing in 2014 and ditching some of the volunteer nice to do in favour of Clare or phd must do! Thanks Kris

  3. Dear Kris,
    I’ll share one shiny object I recently declined. I must admit that I was encouraged to do so by one of your previous blogs.
    I declined a business offer (on top of my 9-5 job) The offer was very flattering in both attention and financially. And it wasn’t easy for me to do so, mostly i felt obligated to accept it cause I felt very privileged to be offered such an opportunity.
    For a long time now I’ve been trying to reduce my obligations but the effect seems to be the opposite. I take on more and more..and my art, music and joy get put off for later or never. So I decided that this is a chance to practice me being in charge of my life. Working on my NO- muscles. :)

    Love,
    M

  4. It’s definitely important to distinguish the shiny objects from opportunities that rock my Soul but I wanna be careful cause a “no” mentality is not sexy (for me).

    So I’ve made 2013 a “yes” year (that was a clear intention I set early on) and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Not that I’ve said “yes” to everything (my inner Goddess knows best after all) but that I have allowed myself to stretch my comfort zone so that I could step into something bigger, grander. (This thought definitely makes me exhale.)

    I have been pre-paving my intentions so the Universe has also been sifting opportunities.
    Inner Goddess alignment: check! Universal co-creation: double check!

  5. Thank you for this… a well-timed article… I always get completely nuts around the holidays, and usually because I have made too many promises (mostly commissioned artwork for other people) and I don’t want to disappoint anyone! Then my house never gets cleaned or decorated for the holidays, I don’t have time to spend with people I love, and the holiday season whooshes by with me swearing next year will be different. I struggle with saying no, or feeling guilty after saying no and changing my mind…. I am working on it… so thank you for the inspiration! “Me time” is just as important as work time… (I’m repeating this in my head right now so I will learn it!!)

  6. Oh my word, I love this article. It’s so true, and I was just thinking about something along these lines this weekend: while there are a bajillion things I want to do, the fact remains that there are only 24 hours in a day. I can’t change that, try as I might to squeeze an insane amount of stuff into those 24 hours…all to the detriment of what really matters. Thank you for writing this!

  7. Love this!

  8. Hi Kris,
    It’s so funny that you wrote that as I was having exactly the same thought yesterday. A shiny object that unfortunately deters me from my ultimate goal would be anything that promises good money, quick. Cause let me tell you, it’s never quick. You either do the job quickly and then not get paid for months and months, or you get stuck up with the worst, most annoying client. Know what I mean? I am having my maternity leave now (btw got onto the CSD to improve my breast milk’s quality and to be able to survive both physically and mentally after 13 months of breastfeeding, but that’s a completely different story) and this is the time in my life when I am free to really speed up towards my dream. Yet, I constantly find myself being allured by dull yet potentially well paying assignments.
    Snow and sunshine, and happy week,
    Elitsa xoxo

  9. I get distracted quite easily-and I’m a little embarrassed to admit it doesn’t take much. I might go to get a pen and realize OMG what a mess and then re-organize my drawer instead of studying. Like I confessed mine aren’t even prestigious money making opportunities. .I moved 3,000 miles away from anyone I knew so I don’t have a lot of “others” to say no to– so you would think it would be easier for me. It is just me, myself & I in this. I actually have improved but I still have a way to go. This Blog was a shiny object for me so back to studying. Thanks Kris for your humorous invitation to become a better version of me.

    • Lynette, I have been wanting to move to a new state– by myself. How is it going for you? Did you move to a city or more rural area? Are you feeling good about things?
      Any advice? Thanks

  10. I am so trying to find the balance between work ( fitness geek and personal trainer ) and being a mom and keeping a healthy household… what is important ( love and time with the kids ) and what can wait ( cleaning the basement!) Thank you for the input!

  11. remodeling our home for the second time. i’m working to regain my health. While i love the process of designing homes, a big project like this would distract me, throw me off my wellness program, and create stress for me and my family.

  12. I will happily decline the company holiday party:)

  13. Today I said “no” to volunteering at my daughter’s school for the holiday party. I’ve done it the last 2 years and although I enjoy it, we are leaving that day for 2 weeks right after school. I just know it would be touch much for me. Usually, I would figure out a way and just do it, but in putting my self care first, I said “no”.

  14. I love this post! I too have had somewhat of a yes year this year and last as I became an Urban Zen Integrative Therapist last year and this year I’m a mentor for the program. I also said yes to making a yoga DVD for people with Multiple Sclerosis. All exciting endeavors! I too know the importance of self care and have made a point to use my times away from teaching for some self care each day. I find the time I have by myself in our home, I enjoy silence. It is calming and helps me to focus. I believe this practice has made me a better yoga teacher and mother. Thank you for all you do!

  15. “people pleasing “yes” pez dispenser —– LOVE the way you think. Thank you, this is just what I needed today!!

  16. I will politely decline any invitations to spend today being unproductive (like spending too much time talking with friends, going out for lunch or re-organizing my drawers). Like Lynette, I know that focus doesn’t come easily to me (yet) so I’m super excited about implementing your advice today!

  17. Okay, I’ve adopted a kid for the holidays at one church I attend. Then there’s a family at work that we’ve adopted for the holidays, and I get to do the shopping. And we attend another church and there’s another tree full of needs that somehow I feel like I need to meet. So where does it end. I mean it feels great to give, but I had to miss time from work to shop and deliver the first bag of goodies, and I over spent because if you’re gonna do it you better make it good. Then there’s his family and mine, and now in-laws from out of town. How do I manage a budget and time when the list keeps growing. I don’t pick up another tag off a tree at church. And that’s okay.

  18. Oh, did I need this article today. I’ve pinned it and shared it. One big fat no I’m going to exclaim today is to the offer to be on the board of a children’s organization. It is a great organization and I am touched and honored by the offer AND it is a shiny object, tempting my ego but taking me away from my true loves and dreams. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  19. Great article and oh so helpful!! I just said no thank you to a book deal. My ego said YES, do it, but heart told me no, my time is better served elsewhere. My heart was so light and open when I said no and immediately after, I was contacted to teach a corporate wellness program to increase employees health ….my heart did the disco with excitement as this is my true purpose! :) Thank you for writing this, imagine the soulful creativity that will come alive after your course :))) xo -Katie Surjan, Genesis Transformation Coach

  20. Loved that you took our interview a step further and went deeper with this issue, it is SO important and I am grateful that we all have you to learn from. Sending so much love your way xx

    Always,

    Nitika

  21. I am in the process of growing my business, nutrition and lifestyle consulting for newly diagnosed cancer patients, so that they can get through treatment stronger and with a healthier immune system.
    I took a giant leap a few months ago and quite my job to immerse myself in creating and marketing my business. I have said no to a few job offers, the shiny object called a regular pay check, to follow my passion. It sure is hard not having a regular, reliable income, but I feel fulfilled everyday knowing that what I am doing will make a difference in peoples lives.
    Thank you for your continued inspiration, your recipes and writings are regularly shared with my clients.
    In love and good health, Cheryl

  22. Hi Kris,
    Thanks for the great visual of the “yes” Pez dispenser….pitifully true for me. I have your Spotlight Crash Course and looking forward to start using it. Even the “promos” were helpful. Thanks again for your help and support.

  23. This is just what I needed to hear. I need more “me” time. I want to read more, yoga more and have more time to meditate . Being able to do these things will make for a better me for my family. Thanks Kris!

  24. I am thinking after this read today that I will turn down the shiny object of joining a community organization that doesn’t excite me. A friend asked me to apply to her organization last week. I love this friend dearly, and think the organization does some good things (community building, etc.) But its a lot of time and money, and I’m simply not jazzed about it. So, I think I’ll decline. I have a lot on my plate now anyway!

    Thanks Kris.

  25. I love this post! When prioritizing and making decisions about where and how to spend my time, I always go with my gut and what I know will make me feel happy and good. Sometimes it’s tough as I often feel guilty or, depending on what I have declined, question whether I am in a woe is me state or if I am truly listening to my inner gut to do the right thing. But I always seem to come out healthier and happier on the other side so I trust that I have made the right decision. Thanks Kris! xo

  26. This is great

  27. Dear Kris and other pioneers,
    You have been such a great support for me, and once again, you have come through. How many invites I turned down to go out ‘for a drink’ for happy hour. I am already happier if I go outside and take a walk or hike. They may take offense but I know my limits. It is no fun for me to go out to a bar, now I understand that it is just part of taking care of me and my current needs. Thank you, Annie

  28. Hey Kris!
    You are magic! You always manage to post something that currently fits with what I’m going through. Love your insights! It’s always that little pick-me-up I need on Monday mornings!

    Daniella

  29. Wow, thank you so much for this article. Exactly what I needed to hear right now. Love it :)

  30. “Get clear about your core values.” I was just reading an astrology entry on the Web by Rio Olesky. He talks about Venus going retrograde from Dec.21-Jan.31. He says “Venus pertains to three primary parts of our lives: values, relationships, and money. Before we can effectively and accurately chose new directions or projects to begin in the New Year, it is helpful to re-examine these core issues. For example, in terms of values, what is important to us? What gives our lives meaning and a sense of well-being? If we don’t know the answers to those questions we are liable to create something that has outlived its usefulness or never had much meaning in the first place.”
    We can all use more practice in being true to ourselves. It’s SO healthy.

  31. Hi Kris,

    I recently got offered a sparkly object in the form of a newsletter. Instead of saying outright “no!” I negotiated the commitment level down a peg. It worked out to be a win-win.

    So there you go! Negotiation is an option too.

    Lisette

  32. Thank you so much for this letter of inspiration. I am the ultimate in people pleasing. I truly want to say NO to volunteering for anything and everything and yet end up saying yes and feeling totally depleted to giving to much of my time to others. I find on a daily basis saying today I am going to do something for me and yet don’t have the time because I am over committed to doing for others. Doing for the wrong reasons instead of doing for the feeling of peace, joy, and love is a priority for me today and in the new year. I am saying no to my boss who kindly volunteered me to be the observation classroom for others without asking my ok first. As I said people assume that I will say yes and it’s so obvious today that they don’t even ask just assume “oh she won’t mind.” Well today I do and am going to say no thanks I don’t need the lime light. Thanks again for your ever inspiring words.

  33. About a month ago, I decided to not take Tamoxifen for my breast cancer. In the giant state of the art cancer center I have been going to for months, I had no idea in the very office I had many of my appointments, lived a Naturopath that also does acupuncture. I tried taking the Tamoxifen for about 3 1/2 weeks and I was having some nasty side effects. So I stopped taking them and am seeing the Naturopath. I am 41 years old and have been battling medical anomalies for pretty much my entire life. Western medicine is ALL I have ever known. So I went with the pack and all the stupid statistics the docs have been barfing at me for months. I now know my cancer is not an isolated “thing”, but rather a symptom of many other issues within my own little hobbit ecosystem. So I am now free of tamoxifen for about a month now and I feel great. I still very much battle physical issues and fatigue, but honestly, I don’t think I have ever felt so happy and free. When I tell people that cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me, I get such a shocked look on the recipients face. It’s all so incredible. I hit my wall of truth this year, or what the Naturopath calls the “proverbial 2×4 in the back of my head” saying it’s time for you to be your true self and start walking the walk. And now I am. I am faced with constant worriers and naysayers, but I face the challenges and try not to hang on to any fears or doubts. My head being in this is such a huge part of this process. I want quality of life, NOT quantity. What matters to me now is living a life of integrity, honesty, peace, inner harmony, balance, humility, patience, unconditional love, and the ability and willingness to surrender and trust in the process of this crazy and adventurous life the universe has given me. It is a gift, and I intend to NOT waste another day being unhappy. This is my bright shiny thing. Thanks for reading ;-)

  34. The universe serves up another timely message. Thanks Kris. I’m a “program addict”, can’t learn enough… how to balance the learning with the doing. I’ve been mulling around a fabulous program, mulling it to death actually, not being able to commit for all the reasons above! Thanks for clearing it up for me. Staying on track and not making “side trips”, at least today!

  35. I can relate…my shiny object was a guy named Francis. He was not so shiny after all, but because of him I learned that I already have all the shine I need. Shiny can definitely be painful…on the heart or on the wallet… but worth the price in the lesson received. No regrets.

  36. Thank you so much for your beautiful thoughts – So needed to hear this right before the holidays especially. And, YES – I know exactly what you mean about the “no-way-Jose” in your bones, and then the boundary eating zombie that emerges from who-knows-where! So so relate to this. Thank you!

  37. Great article, pretty lady!
    My shiny article I will leave behind is manipulative people, dressed in Sherpa clothing. No is the most powerful word, or “No thank you, that doesn’t work for me!” I also am staying away from the shiny stores! Enough shopping!!! :) Merry Christmas!

  38. hi Kris – this resonates deeply , am learning the art of gracefully declining and listening to my body – this article gives me the endorsement I need to not feel so bad after , especially your words that there will always be other opportunities . xx

  39. I’m declining a life-stealing connection with a shiny muscley man.
    I’m saying YES to stepping into my inheritance as a powerful woman who lives without compromise!

  40. I am giving up people who seemed shiny, charming, and caring, but fell into the abyss of alcohol or drug addiction. I cannot change them, and it is too painful to watch them destroy themselves—transforming into unrecognizable strangers.

  41. I declined an invite to a fabulous restaurant with coworkers knowing I would be exhausted after a full an eight hour day of chair massage.
    It turns out my fiancé brought me dinner and drove home so I could relax. We ended up having a much needed night of relaxation together and I was so happy I didn’t overcommit.

  42. Thank you so much for the article! I read it exactly when I needed it. My most recent beautiful shiny object was a new romantic relationship – my intuition from the very first date was telling me to stop, red flags every where. But the attraction to the sparkle was creating major distraction in my life and it was blinding and it took me four months to come to my senses and own my truth. The aftermath was dull and dark and painful. My take-away from this experience : listen to my intuition, feeling in my gut – it is always right. And when all is done and said, Im doing my best to silence the harsh self talk by self care and practicing unconditionally loving myself no matter what. I will not let this experience defy who I am. Thanks Kris.

  43. I will say yes to you! This is me. We have to give ourselves time to process what is on offer or asked of us before uttering yes!

  44. I’ve recently decided not to move out of my apartment.
    My rent is going up & while I am fortunate to be able to afford the increase, it still was bothersome.
    However, my best furry friend (my cat, Pandora) passed away a few weeks ago & I simply am not in the mental state to move right now.
    So, my shiny object was a new place, with a lower rent. But, my mental & emotional well-being took precedence!
    Thank you for your never-ending awesomeness, Kris!
    Dawn

  45. I caught myself in a shiny-object trance the other week. I live in Munich and my daughter will start taking French as part of the public school curriculum soon. I have never learned any French and found myself being pulled hypnotically by a French at Lunch course offered at the library, a mere 3 minute walk from my apartment. I justified that I would be able to “better help her with her homework.” Yikes – I needed several metaphorical buckets of cold water and gently telling myself, “not now” over and over to snap out of it. And the idea still keeps creeping up when I let my guard down.

  46. Hi Kris. My shiny object is a potential job that doesn’t pay much…(oh and I don’t have a car to even get to the job…at least not now)…however, I think I may be offered the job and I’m feeling almost obligated to accept cause my husband is so frustrated with his job. Over the last year I’ve been trying to pin point just what I would love to be doing. I’ve tapped into my writing talent talent…slightly a surprise to me…eventhough I’ve written a book and working on two other…but I never thought of being a “writer” as a career. Anyway, my gut says “don’t do the job if its offered”…”keep pushing yourself to release your inner talent, take that writing class in January, continue to prepare for law school, and take that tour guide class (if you get a sponsor) that may result into a job in the spring…and that would be GREAT!
    I guess I’m just venting kinda…but thank you for that article…it helped me zone in and look at my feelings/options much clearer.

  47. Thanks for this, Kris! A shiny object that I’ve cut back on is homeschooling my two sons. (May not sound so shiny to others. LOL) This is our third year and, instead of doing it all myself, I’ve gotten a bunch of help and am only with them two days per week now. So, more balance for me and more variety for them. It’s been so good.

    Keep up you holy work!
    Janette

  48. Kris,

    I love what you said about being slow to say “yes”. One of the biggest downfalls that successful people in business and entrepreneurship claim to have made is not being able to say “no” more. Making decisions based on what we truly feel is extremely important in every aspect of our lives. I know that for me, saying “yes” all of the time can become a burden quickly.