Categories | Community Contributions | Inspiration
A Community Contribution by Matt Handal
As soon as I got myself in front of the steps leading down to my basement, I could see the black smoke billowing up to the first floor. I rushed into the basement to see where the fire was. There were no visible flames, but from the black smoke erupting from the party wall separating us from the twin house next door, it was quite clear that my neighbor’s house was ablaze.
My pregnant wife rushed outside to see what was going on. With my wife and unborn child headed out the door, that classic question came into my head.
What do I save?Here is how quickly your priorities can be clarified. That party wall has probably a two hour fire rating, so I feel comfortable that I have at least 30 seconds in this house before that party wall lets any fire through or the smoke gets very dangerous (my estimate, not the fire marshal’s). I have 30 seconds to do whatever it is I should be doing at this moment.
What is my next action? Put on shoes? Grab laptop? Throw iPhone in pocket? Find grade school spelling bee trophy? Process my inbox?
I quickly decided that above all else, my next action was to make sure my neighbor was safe. I even pictured in my mind how I would heroically bust down her door. “Done” looked like me jumping out their window with the neighbor in my arms.
So I didn’t put on shoes or process my inbox. I got my butt out the front door. Luckily the neighbor was out safe. And we were standing outside @Waiting For the fire truck.
Many teachers, bosses, and coaches over the years have tried to, as they were so fond of saying, “light a fire under my butt.” What they really should have done is help me clarify what was important in my life, identify my desired outcome and determine what my next actions were.
When there was literally a fire under my butt, those were the things I did, thanks in large part to a getting things done mindset I’ve instilled in myself over the last several years. But it doesn’t have to be a fire that is the catalyst which helps a person clarify what is important in their life, identify their desired outcomes, and determine what their next actions are. It can be a teacher, a boss, a coach, a parent, a friend, or even a book.
Matt Handal is a marketing professional who offers actionable advice on marketing, business development, and productivity at www.HelpEverybodyEveryday.com. He is an avid GTD’er and can be reached by email. Read more from Matt.