• Gary Sandler
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    Published 6 September 2018

    Most people have goals. Some are as simple as being on time for an appointment. Other goals, such as buying a home or planning one’s future, can be a bit more challenging to formulate. In the book “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-Smart Executive,” author Mark McCormack shares the story of a goal-setting study conducted with a class of Harvard MBA students.

    The study revealed that only 3 percent of participants had written goals. Another 10 percent had goals in mind but didn’t write them down. The remaining 87 percent had no goals at all. In a follow up study conducted 10 years later, the 3 percent who had written goals earned, on average, 10 times more than all the other participants combined. The 10 percent who merely kept their goals in mind earned twice as much as the 87 percent who had no goals at all.

    As the late author Stephen Covey illustrated in his best-selling book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” substituting “the big rocks of life” for personal goals is an easy way to create a roadmap for a successful future. While speaking to a packed ballroom at New Mexico State University a few years ago, Dr. Covey clarified the process by telling the story of a man who was mentoring a group of over-achievers on the importance of goals. The man began by placing a 1-gallon Mason jar on a table. He then dropped into the jar a dozen-or-so fist-sized rocks, until the jar would hold no more. He then asked the class if the jar was full. A majority said “yes.”

    Jar, rocks make a point

    The man then placed gravel into the jar, filling the spaces between the big rocks. The class was beginning to catch on. Next came sand, which filled the voids between the rocks and gravel. The class awaited the man’s next and final move, which was to fill the jar with water. The jar was indeed full at this point, but that was only half the exercise.

    The mentor then emptied the contents of the jar into a large vessel and poured everything but the big rocks back into the jar. He then tried to add the big rocks. Thanks to the rearrangement of the various substances originally placed into the jar, the big rocks would no longer fit. In the end, the message was that “if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

    So, what are your big rocks? Buying a home? Raising a family? Time with your loved ones? A successful career? Travel? Good health? Faith, education or financial security? The choices are unlimited and unique to each person. In the end, goals are like a roadmap for life. It’s difficult to get from here to there without knowing what route you plan to take. Covey summed it up with this quote: “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

    See you at closing!

    Gary Sandler is a full-time Realtor and owner of Gary Sandler Inc., Realtors in Las Cruces. Gary can be reached at 575-642-2292 or Gary@GarySandler.com.

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      Gary Sandler