Leaders Are Masters Of "First Things"


Leaders are masters of "first things." They refuse to be bogged down by the trivial, the mundane, and the unimportant. The top spot on their "To Do" list is always reserved for what matters most.

Here are five great reminders about first things:

  1. "Seek first the kingdom of God." Jesus, Matthew 6:33
  2. Jesus' first trumps all others. All my "firsting" needs to come second to the passionate pursuit of his kingdom. When I am seeking first his kingdom: My motivation is to honor him (1 Corinthians 10:31). My efforts are to represent him and to please him (Colossians 3:17, 23). My desire is to point people to him where I live, work, and play (Matthew 28:18-20). My life and leadership stay on course when my "true north" is Jesus and his kingdom.  
  3. "The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord." George Mueller.
  4. Müller cared for 10,000 orphans during his lifetime. Despite tremendous responsibilities and the constant urge to go, go, go . . .  he always took time to stop so he could start his day right. You can read more about George Müller's secret by clicking here.
  5. "Put first things first." Stephen Covey
  6. Covey's wildly successful book, The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People," contains many leadership gems, but this principle is one of his best. C. S. Lewis says this about first things: "You can't get second things by putting them first. You get second things only by putting first things first."Want to dig deeper on priorities, just click here.
  7. "The first job of a leader is to define reality." Max De Pree
  8. When leaders show up, they immediately begin to assess their situation, personnel, and resources. Click here and then scroll down to point #3 for more on defining reality.
  9. "Switch to creative work first." Glei & Belsky
  10. Th authors of Manage Your Day-To-Day write, "The single most important change you can make in your working habits is to switch to creative work first, reactive work second. This means blocking off a large chunk of time every day for creative work on your own priorities." If you want more help on this principle click here to read: "The Leader's Magic Hours."

Leaders go far when they remember what goes first. What "first thing" needs to be moved back to the top of your "To Do" list?