Do they make your list?

Business is brutal.

To be successful you must be ruthless. Relentless. Work all the hours that God gives. There will be sacrifices, it’s inevitable. Your health and relationships may suffer, but that’s the cost of success.

Or is it?

Perhaps it depends on the kind of businesses we want to build. Stories like that of Harvey Bowden, a plumber that went on to build a successful company employing 200 people, serve as a reminder that we need to keep our priorities in order.

Mr Bowden was clear on his priorities as he built Harvey Water Softeners into the company it is today, “Building a business takes an awful amount of energy and time, but don’t give it all to the business.” The fist thing he scheduled each year was not meetings with clients or distributors. It was not new contracts he chased before anything else. It was something much more important.

Pen and notebook

As each new year arrived, the first and most important thing to make it into his diary was the school holidays. “Actually get your diary and write in the school holidays and holiday with the children.” Not many business manuals tell you to do that!

If you spend as much energy with the children as you do with the business you’ll have a great time. –Harvey Bowden

Priorities. They’re the things that have first place in our lives and first call on our time. They are important and yet it’s so easy to get them wrong.

What are the top priorities in your life? What gets your attention and comes before anything else? The chances are that if it’s not relationships, your family or friends, you’ve got it wrong.

You may not be trying to build your own business but the lesson still applies. What seems important now may be irrelevant in 40 years time. If you ignore your future priorities now, they may reciprocate later.

Click here to see Mr Bowden on the BBC.

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