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Ask yourself; is there a better way to live? TRIORITIES challenges you to make the effort to mentally step out of the game for a moment, and to consider your life; where it has brought you, your priorities, and where it will probably take you if you stay the course. TRIORITIES will help you to consider if there might be a better way to live.

TRIORITIES is about a life of focus, a life of balance, and a life that you endeavor to live well and enjoy along the way. Are you running from one task to the next but not enjoying any of it? Are you climbing ladders only to find the view from the top less than appealing? Then I challenge you to take a break from the treadmill of life to look at your life, your choices, your track record, and ultimately your future. Ask yourself; am I who I want to be? Am I all that God intended for me to be? Have I tried to be too many things, and failed to master any of them? If that simple evaluation brings you to a point of realization that maybe there might be a better way to do things then just maybe this is a plan for you to consider.

TRIORITIES involves simple logic that challenges you to take a three step process to evaluate life, develop a plan to become what you want to become, and then, implement that plan in your life. Consider the value of simplicity in setting priorities in a complex world. Consider simplicity from a standpoint of being focused on three areas of life that we truly need to properly invest ourselves in, and mange accordingly. The three priorities of the TRIORITIES lifestyle are God, Family and Work.

Lançado em:
Nov 8, 2010

Sobre o autor

I have found that we make life a little too complicated. We create treadmills to walk on, and then as we walk and run on and on and on, somewhere along the way, we forget why we even started walking. My pourpose in writing this book was to share a better way of life with my readers. My goal is for people to consider living a life that focuses on three basic areas of existence that bring about a meaningful and significant life, and to do so in a balanced fashion that does not get too overloaded in any one area, so as to starve the others, but strives for and maintains a balance. Let's face it, even too much of a good thing is still too much. My three priorities in life are God, Family and my Work; and most everything that I do can fit into one or more of those categories in one way or another. It is these areas that I choose to strive to be productive in, and that I try to spread myself evenly into. In writing about how I feel a balanced life can be a meaningful and significant life, I do not write from a theoretical point of view, but from an experienced point of view. I write from the experiences of my life. I have been happily married for nearly 29 years, I have two wonderful children, 25 and 27 (that come complete with a great accompaniment of son and daughter in laws and three wonderful grand children), I have been blessed with a great relationship with God and feel His presence daily in my life and have since I accepted Him as Lord and Savior of my life nearly 25 years ago, I have a great job and am surrounded by people that have become a significant part of my life. I have even embraced some very significant hobbies with purpose in my life, and quite frankly, I just enjoy the life that I have been blessed with and in my own way, I live it to the fullest and wish the same joy for everyone. I feel in many ways, I am just the guy next door. I live in a small suburb of a averaged sized city in Southern Indiana. And though our sleepy little community offers up little drama to have to deal with, I have travelled quite a bit in this country and know well enough the difference between simple and simply frightening. I have chosen to build a special life, and I have worked hard to keep it that way. And, as much as I love the blessings that I have received in life, I also love to share the path with anyone who would listen with a hope that they would see fit to walk down the same path and find joy in doing so. I guess I want everyone to be as happy as I am. What it all boils down to for me is trying to find the best way to face all things in life, and one of those things is where we will spend our eternity. They say you can't take it with you when you go, but "they" do not understand that you can take something with you in the long run, and that is the people whose lives you touch along the way who in turn choose to live a life with God here on this earth. And in the end, that is all that will truly matter.

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Triorities - Rich Hatfield



Copyright © 2010 by Rich Hatfield

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

WestBow Press books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

WestBow Press

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1-(866) 928-1240

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any Web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

ISBN: 978-1-4497-0647-0 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4497-0648-7 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4497-0812-2 (ebook)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2010939608

Printed in the United States of America

WestBow Press rev. date: 10/29/2010


Chapter 1 Living with Triorities

Chapter 2 Watching the Scale

Chapter 3 Weaving Together Philosophies

Chapter 4 Dimensional Thinking & Responsibility

Chapter 5 Defining the God Part

Chapter 6 Defining the Family Part

Chapter 7 Defining the Work Part

Chapter 8 Measurable Resources

Chapter 9 Malachi: the End of the Beginning

The New Testament

Chapter 10 Goal-setting: Making Your Lists

Chapter 11 Goal-setting: Short List

Chapter 12 Goal Setting: The Business Card

Chapter 13 Goal Achieving: The Lifestyle

Chapter 14 Goal Achieving: Watching the Clock

Chapter 15 Goal Achieving: Paying Yourself

Chapter 16 Shoot for Meaningful and Significant

Chapter 17 Enjoy All the Holes

Chapter 18 How It All Ends

The Resource Center

Chapter 19 The Resource Center

Chapter 1

Living with Triorities

Dazed and Confused

I’m certainly a fan of having goals. Let’s face it—for most guys, there is a deep-seated animal instinct that tells us to go out and kill something and drag it back to the cave to eat. We like to conquer, to climb mountains and traverse the seas. Well, I guess I should say that we like to do these things as long as we are victorious—when we’re young and dumb and oblivious to the obstacles and risks that face us along the way during our journeys in life. It’s sad but true that knowledge tends to hold us back as we mature and grow: knowledge of the pitfalls involved, understanding of the commitment required, the thought of sacrifice, and, most importantly, the knowledge of our own track record. How many times have we started out on an ambitious journey, gotten tired or lost, failed, become dazed and confused, and then come back home empty-handed? The more we mature, the more we tend to write off the goals we once had, because we’ve been there and done that, and things didn’t work out for one reason or another. So we quit before we start. What brilliance! We mature in such a way that we know to not even try, because we have a low-percentage chance of success. This is based not only on our understanding of external circumstances, but also, in a large part, on our own past performance. So, we sit and dream of a better life; but then we wake up and go back to what we were doing, because it is comfortable, and we know how to navigate through the life we already have.

Considering this mature understanding of life, how do we explain guys like Einstein, Columbus, the Wright brothers, or many others who stepped out there to follow their dreams? Were they just plain dumb? Didn’t they know that their chances for success were limited? Didn’t they consider how many times they had tried and failed? Didn’t they take into account that nobody else was doing it their way? Why didn’t they just accept what they had, and learn to live with it? Why did they persist in their silly dreams: high-tech electronics, finding a new land on a world that was unexpectedly round, flying above the earth? What foolish dreams, what a waste of time their efforts must have seemed to the world around them. No doubt, these guys felt the pressure to succeed. Not only did they boldly lay their dreams out there for their peers to see, but they also failed publicly in their quests. Yes, some of the greatest achievers in history had the greatest records of failure as well. That’s what accomplishment is all about. It’s about missing the mark enough times that you eventually learn what not to do and, subsequently, what to do. Maturity should not be a curse that demotivates us, making us afraid to try. It should be an educational process that prepares us for greater things by showing us what works and, just as important, what doesn’t.

Take a look at your history, at your own maturing process. What’s your track record look like? Have you failed repeatedly? Do you even try to accomplish great things in life with passion and conviction? Or do you just go through the motions each day, with every day looking just like the last?

Does your day basically follow the agenda below?

1. Wake up.

2. Wash myself.

3. Eat

4. Go to the place I go in the morning.

5. Eat again.

6. Go to the place I go in the afternoon.

7. Eat again.

8. Go to the place I go in the evening.

9. Sleep

10. Repeat

If this is your typical day, you’ve got nothing to lose if you try something new. The fact of the matter is, you have nothing to lose because you have little to start with. God did not intend for us to simply exist. Life is full of challenges, opportunities, and rewards. If we do not go through life looking for a better way to live—stronger relationships, better health, success and purpose—then our lives start to resemble that of the family dog. You decide what you’d like for dinner: steak or Kibbles ‘N Bits.

So, let’s get back to the dazed and confused concept of maturing. As we try to accomplish things in life—and fail—we start to fear trying. We get a little stunned by the things that hit us, and we become dazed. Consider the running back who takes the football in hand and runs hard and fast, right up the middle. After a few steps, he runs head-on into the biggest lineman in the entire universe. Boom! He has the breath knocked out of him before he even hits the ground. Our natural instinct would tell us that this is not a good thing and we shouldn’t do it again. For an athlete, not doing it again may not be an immediate option. So, he slams into Shamu again and again with no progress. What does this tell him? It might say to him that running the ball cannot be done, so he refuses to take it. Then, seeing not only his failure, but his defeated attitude as well, the coach decides to throw the ball down-field.

The star running back reacts differently: He knows the job can be done, but realizes that it cannot be done the way he is trying to do it. So he makes adjustments and tries again. You see, getting a little dazed by running into brick walls is not a reason to stop running, but it should be a reason to take a little different approach. Most of us simply stop running. We assume that passing is the safest bet, and we give up. The true winner figures out how to run. He is the guy who says, Put me in, Coach. He wants to succeed and he keeps trying until he does. He either runs over Shamu, or around him, or through him. But he is a runner, and, if he doesn’t figure out how to run effectively, he has failed—and failure is not an option.

A fundamental concept in being successful is to not allow yourself to become dazed, whether you have hit one brick wall or twelve. Again, consider the plights of Einstein, Columbus, Wilbur and Orville; they certainly majored in hitting brick walls, but they kept coming back for more, modifying each approach until they found ways around those brick walls. Commit yourself to understanding that you will get stunned, but that will pass, as long as next time you modify your approach. Then, try, and try again, until you get it right.

Just as important as the concept of being dazed is the concept of being confused. Confusion can be a result of chasing the wrong goals; or it can simply be a matter of having the right goals, but having too many at one time. First of all, having the wrong goals can effect other areas of your life: maybe you achieve your goal but, in the process, you make a mess of something else.

Let’s take an example of the Spring Break Stud. He’s the perfect-bodied captain of the football team with a barrel chest and six-pack abs. Miraculously, his entire body is perfectly tanned, and his hair is even just right when he first climbs out of bed in the morning. Well, as Studly and his friends sit around planning their spring break fling at Panama City Beach, Studly proudly proclaims his intentions involving drunkenness and debauchery; most specifically, he wagers that he can have a different woman every night for the duration of the trip. Amazingly, Studly succeeds in his goals, but they are clearly the wrong goals to have. After spring break is over, his reputation follows him home. His previous girlfriend of a year-and-a-half dumps him for what he has done; and he can no longer get the good girls to give him a second look, because they do not want to be with a guy like that. Oh, yes, and he also develops a nagging little problem that will stay with him for the rest of his life because of making bad choices.

Confused? It could be a matter of following the crowd; it could be a matter of letting that little devil that pops up on your shoulder set the course; or it could just be a matter of poor judgment. However, if you are confused and set the wrong goals, you could very well be working hard and running in the wrong direction and not even know it. Let’s get back to the running back. How would his success be measured if, each time he was given the ball, he ran with passion and strength straight toward the sideline instead of toward the goal line? It would be obvious to all that the boy was confused.

Now, let me complicate this whole concept of confusion just a little more. You can have good goals that are right for you, but you can still fail if you have either too many goals or conflicting goals that compete for your time. Let’s say, for example, that it is your goal to quit smoking, and you also set a goal to lose weight. I cannot speak from experience, having never been a smoker, but from what I understand, quitting can be quite a challenge. In many cases, when you are trying to quit, not only does food taste better, but you have urges to smoke that, when denied, may convert themselves over to urges to snack to satisfy your cravings. From what I understand, it is quite easy to gain weight when you quit a serious smoking habit.

Can you see where having the goals to quit smoking and lose weight at the same time may be a little challenging? I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it might make more sense to set the goal to quit smoking and merely maintain your weight. Once the cigarettes are a thing of the past and you’ve settled into a smoke-free lifestyle, then set the goal to lose weight.

Sometimes, even when the goals are the right ones, they can be competing too aggressively for your time, attention, or commitment, all at the same time, and make success even harder for you to achieve. Then, the pressure dazes you, and you give up. Don’t set yourself up for failure in that way. Think your goals through before you commit to them, and make sure that you do not have too many at once, or that you have any that tend to compete with each other for your focus. There will be time to achieve it all. Just take it at a pace that you can succeed at. Consider the old riddle of, How do you eat an elephant?. The answer is: one bite at a time. Set your course to change life accordingly: one step at a time.

If we understand that being dazed and confused are reasons that we fail, it should help us plan a more successful process for setting and achieving goals in life. The simple truth is—whether we choose to accept it or not—many of our greatest goals in life have Shamu the killer lineman standing between success and our present location. And many of our most consistently followed habits and goals in life have us running for the sidelines. If we can work on a lifestyle designed to avoid being both dazed and confused, our chances for success increase dramatically.

The Triorities

Get ready: Here’s the purpose of this book. As you read on, I will further define the concept of Triorities and suggest application steps, but this is what it is all about.

Triorities is about a lifestyle; it is about having goals and having balance. Triorities is a pre-planned and monitored way of life that is all about living with a defined set of priorities—priorities that are understood in their order of importance and in how they interact with each other. Furthermore, commitment to these priorities tends to bring about a life that is filled with fewer pitfalls and obstacles and with more happiness and success. This is not a get-rich-quick plan, nor is it a new age, all-about-me program. No, it’s about simple, clean living and the rewards that come from it.

First, let’s define the word Triorities and its fundamental concept. The word Triorities is a take-off on the word priorities. The prefix tri is there because this plan focuses on three simple and non-competing priorities in life. This is about my life. This is how I’ve chosen to live it, and this is what I want to share with you. If you watched my actions and deeds, or you weighed my motives, or you saw where I spent my time and energy, I would only hope that you could see that I truly do live by these Triorities. My life is simple, although I feel that it is successful. I have lived with this plan for my life for about twenty years now, and they have been the best years of my life. I am committed to further defining my own Triorities in life as I go, and living by my convictions as I grow deeper in these Triorities. I am happy, and I am a firm believer in that old adage of dancing with the girl you brought to the dance.

So now, let’s get to the meat and potatoes. These three priorities require some introduction and will be best understood with a little explanation. As we proceed, understand that, in my life, this is it. This is who I am and who I want to be. You should be able to measure just about everything that I do and put it into one of these three categories. In many cases, there are things that bridge two—or maybe even all three—categories. When I have some activity or motive that cannot sensibly fit into one of these categories, I know it’s something that I do not want in my life. It is not only a plan for traveling through life; it is a filter for screening out the bad stuff. The three priorities are:

Priority #1: God

I want to tell you right up front that I am a firm believer that God has created this world and everything in it, and that He created me—not by accident, but by plan. I believe that God’s plan for us involves giving us free will, but I believe that there is an accountability program that goes hand-in-hand with the choices we make. I believe that God’s plan for us involves having a relationship with Him. However, I believe that our wrong choices separate us from Him. I believe that He knew and planned from the beginning that when we failed—and that separation occurred—that the plan for redemption would come through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. In our lives, quite frankly, we all fall short, and that redemption is a very necessary thing to reach out for. When you have it, it is good. When you neglect His plan and the distance grows, life is more empty and the future more bleak.

Therefore, I desire to put God first in my life. Now, that may sound like a nice, churchy little statement to make, and yet you may question how this could be. Within any given twenty-four-hour period—by the time you take out time for eating, sleeping, bathing, working, and so on—we have a small portion of time left over. Of that portion, how much do we truly give exclusively to God? I agree, it can sound unrealistic. But here’s what I have determined and believe. Putting God first is not about portion; it’s about focus. It’s not about giving Him 51 percent of the minutes of each day. No, it’s more about committing yourself to getting to know Him and trying to do what He says by following His ways in your life.

Let’s imagine it this way: If your top priority in life is your spouse, and you want to be committed to doing what your spouse wants you to do in every single one of life’s circumstances, you will keep her by your side at all times. When you wake up and jump in the shower, there she’ll be. Before you wash your own back, you’ll reach out to hers. You’ll bid her a good morning and tell her you’re glad that you have her, and that you look forward to another day with her. Then, as you drive to work, she’ll sit right there beside you. You know that she doesn’t want you to curse at that idiot driver who pulled out in front of you; so, when it happens, you resist the temptation.

Then, at work, as you’re met with challenges, you turn to her and ask her advice. You are presented with opportunities; so you ask what she wants before you proceed. You go out to lunch together, she buys, and you thank her for her generosity. You socialize, and as you talk, you learn more and more about her: her wants, desires, and needs. With each passing moment, you draw nearer. And, after the workday is over, she remains right there by your side throughout the evening’s activities. Your choices about where to go, what to do, and even, for that matter, what to say and how to say it, are all filtered through a subconscious process of thinking about what she wants. Basically, you put her into every part of your life, and you put her first.

Okay, no matter how much we love our spouses, we probably cannot imagine that scenario, where they are with us twenty-four/seven, where we endeavor to put them first in every way. I merely paint that picture so you understand how I can justify the statement that God comes first. It may not mean that He physically gets a 51-percent block of all time and energies, but it would be much like the story told above. If we cannot take God to work with us, out to eat with us, over to see friends, behind the wheel, and so on, we cannot truthfully say that He comes first. If we just put Him in His box, and only take Him out when it is His time, He is merely on the list; He is not woven throughout it. Having His desires at the top of the list and woven throughout it—that’s how we can put Him first and say truthfully that we do. We’ll discuss this more later on in the book. For now, let’s move on.

Priority #2: Family

This is touchy ground. The fact of the matter is, family—whether the term refers to a spouse, children, extended family, or all of the above—is what many people would classify as the number-one priority. I guess, in my Triorities, I do not totally disagree with that thinking as it appears on the surface, because family is a driving and motivating priority and responsibility in my life. But God comes first. Period. That is the way it should be; it is Biblical. When God says that we shall have no other gods before Him, I think that we can define the "little-g gods as things that control us: our actions, deeds, and motives. These little-g" gods could be things like money, material possessions, habits, addictions, good things, bad things, and, yes, even family. We should not let anything come before God on our list. It is equally important, if God is first, that we do not let anything come before family in the second-place slot. Our family is a gift from God, and we should make that gift one of our most important focuses in life: caring for it, nurturing and providing for it, loving it, and so on and so forth—placing family second only to the will of God itself.

Making family a high priority is not just about buying them things. It is about putting their needs ahead of our own, spending time with them, building our relationships, loving them, caring for them, meeting their needs, teaching them, and on and on. If you’re not prepared to put your family completely ahead of yourself, you’re not ready for a family. We’ll talk more about family and some specific priorities later; but for now, let’s get on to the final pillar that holds up this Triorities lifestyle.

Priority #3: Work

Okay, so let’s just get it out right up front: this priority seems to cheapen this list of much more lofty goals. Why put work on such a short list? Well, for two reasons. First of all, let’s just admit to its being a big part of who we are, simply because of the amount of time it consumes in our lives. Depending on our definitions of work or the kinds of work we do, it is probably the single biggest consumer of our time and energy in life. We may work eight to ten hours a day, five days a week—or maybe even more. Instead of denying that it is a big part of us, let’s just put it on the list so we can manage it.

The second reason I think it’s worth putting on the list is that I feel we need to keep a broader definition of work in mind. In my world, work is, in a large way, about strategy, sales, payroll, and those types of things. My wife doesn’t have those things in her life. However, she works harder than I do. She’s had active and effective volunteer ministries within our church. She has devoted herself to caring for a mother who is ill and a father who devotes himself to being a fulltime caregiver. My wife also manages our household and makes it a sanctuary that I look forward to coming home to each day. I feel that, for each of us, we need to define the work category by what we make our obvious purpose in life.

It’s not just about bringing home the bacon. It should really be about what we feel is our responsibility and what we want to accomplish in life. Would you look at someone like Mother Teresa and say that she did not work, simply because what she did was not measured by economic scales? No way. Her work was more clearly defined than that of most CEOs. So, let’s just say for now that this third priority—work—can be a fairly broad category that will change for each individual, and that your work is no less significant than that of the doctor who makes your kid well again. Work should take its rightful place as third on the list, but, make no mistake, it belongs on the list.

Now you know the theory of the Triorities; it’s all about focusing on what is most important and trying to succeed in these areas above all else. As we move on, we’ll discuss each one a little further. We’ll also discuss managing our lives by these Triorities and measuring our activities and progress. The process, as with many things in life, is easier than you may think—and habit-forming. Try hard to get your Triorities in place. Plan your work; then, work your plan. With Triorities in place, I think you’ll agree that life not only becomes more meaningful; it also becomes easier to succeed. You’ll put aside habits in life that make you dazed and confused and replace them with ones that make you focused and determined.

More Than Just Having a Plan

There is more to success than just having the right plan. Even though I am committed to the Triorities concept, I must say that you should not even waste your time getting started unless you are going to be committed to working your plan. Plans fail from lack of commitment; they fail from being poorly conceived; and ultimately they fail because they are too rigid and do not allow for adjustments along the way. Consider the plight, once again, of the running back that runs smack-dab into Shamu. Will he be successful if he only has the determination to keep hitting that brick wall again and again until he finally wears it down? No way! Shamu probably will not wear down as quickly as the running back because of the sheer difference in mass. What knocks the running back to the ground requires little effort from Shamu. He just has to be in the right place and hold firm. No, willingness to keep hitting the same wall again and again is not a commendable attitude; it’s more a form of insanity. If you keep doing the same thing over and over and somehow hope for miraculously different results, you’re only kidding yourself. True success comes when you know what you want; it comes when you deal constructively with the things that slow you down or get in your way, when you modify your approach to overcome the obstacles.

As we continue on, you must first understand the DIE approach and commit yourself fully to the concept. If you don’t, the Shamus in your life will win, if you keep hitting them over and over again with no alteration to your approach. And, instead of being remembered as some kind of hero, you will be remembered as the stupid kid with the spirit to keep on trying.

Chapter 2

Watching the Scale

Understanding the DIE Approach

It’s quite a basic concept when you think about it. None of us are brilliant enough to sit down on a Saturday afternoon and flawlessly set out our goals for the rest of our lives. We do not have the mental capacity, knowledge, or experience to consider all the variables to plan where we want to go; we can’t anticipate every conceivable combination of events that we’ll encounter along the way and our reactions to those events. That’s where the DIE approach comes in.

As we move on, look at the image below and get it firmly in your mind. View it as a self-feeding process. Picture each of the arrows flashing as an event occurs, making it the focus of your attention. Then, understand that the arrows need to flash in order to make the whole system work right. Think about it this way: it’s all about momentum. Step one feeds step two, step two feeds step three, and step three feeds step one again. Then the process repeats, again and again and again. This process is all about reacting to circumstances, events, and situations. As I said a moment ago, not one of us is capable of planning for every contingency, so don’t kid yourself. Make the DIE process a key part of your life’s work and goal-achievement program; you’ll go much further than if you think, for some reason, that you can take out a legal pad and draft a plan for your life in one sitting. Look again at the image above. Picture each arrow flashing in sequence. Put the process to music in your mind, or consider it to be like the sound and motion of a Chevy 350 V-8, where the pop of the fuel exploding in the first cylinder causes the piston to push down and turn the crankshaft, then the next cylinder pops, and on and on. Know that the process of this three-cylinder engine can run very smoothly when finely tuned. Pop, pop, pop … and the process begins. Then, with each cycle of combustion, the shaft begins to turn faster and smoother. Momentum is half the battle, and, to maintain the momentum, you must keep all cylinders firing. Let’s take a look now at the role of each process, and then you’ll understand how they not only work together, but how they feed each other momentum and strength.

Step one is to develop the plan. That’s where it all starts, and that’s the D in the DIE process: goal-setting. Look at your life and determine what you want to accomplish, who you want to be, what you want to do. What do you want to be remembered for? Have you ever thought about what people will say about you after you’re gone? Well, consider how you live your life. Who are your friends, and what are your

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