A few years ago, I began a hiking trip with my Uncle Flint in the wilderness of Maine.
Maine has been nicked named vacationland by many people who love the tranquility and enjoyment that comes from visiting the green state that comes with a slower pace of life.
My mother’s side of the family comes from Maine, and I spent a fair amount of time during my youth in the grand ole state.
It had been several years since I visited my family in Maine, so I was excited about the trip with my Uncle.
Flint had arranged for us to take a hike up Mount Katahdin, which is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
The name Katahdin comes from the Penobscot Native Americans, which means “The Greatest Mountain.”
Blue trail markers were painted on trees and rocks along the way to keep us on the path to the summit of Mount Katahdin.
The entire time we were hiking on the trail, my uncle kept repeating, “Maybe we’ll see a moose!”
I’d only seen the grandeur and majesty of a moose once when I was driving through the mountains of Utah.
The thought of seeing a moose again in the middle of nature intrigued me, and I was hoping to see a moose as well.
The hike ended was much more strenuous than I had expected.
At times, I wanted to quit and turn around.
However, I soon realized that it wasn’t a viable option as I didn’t know the path.
Worse yet, I would have to live down the stories of Damon, the one who quit while climbing Katahdin.
That wasn’t a moniker I was willing to live with.
As we got closer to the summit of the mountain, we came to a ridge on the mountain that was mostly level.
This came as a welcome rest from the continually hiking up the mountain.
The morning I was on the ridge, the fog had blanketed the mountain.
The visibility had deteriorated so much that I was only able to see about 20 feet in front of me.
Fog on the top of Mount Katahdin is a frequent occurrence.
The park rangers created cairns, which are rock piles about two to three feet high, along the path to keep hikers in safety.
Each cairn dotted the trail every 20 to 30 feet.
The cairns were visible posts that led me to the next portion of the trail.
A few hours later, I stood atop the summit of Mount Katahdin and called my family back in NC to share the moment of accomplishment with them.
One of the most striking things I remember about this hiking trip with the enormous boulders that I traversed during the trip.
Many millenniums ago, enormous glaciers carved the mountains into the landscape of Maine.
The boulders reminded me of a story Stephen Covey shared in his writing.
In the story, Stephen Covey uses a giant jar to explain how we should establish priorities in our lives.
When filling a jar, it’s important first to place big rocks into the jar.
Then one places smaller rocks.
Next, one places pebbles into the jar.
Then comes sand.
Finally, one pours water into the jar.
The point of the story is that by placing big rocks first into the jar, one ensures the big rocks make it into the jar.
If the small rocks, pebbles, sand and water would have already filled up the jar went in first, the big rocks wouldn’t fit int the jar.
The same principle applies to our lives.
In order to get our most important priorities, our big rocks, into our lives, we must put those big rocks into our calendar.
If we fail to do our big rocks, the frenetic pace of life takes over, and we are at the end of our day without having accomplished the most important priority.
One of the best disciplines I’ve developed in my life is using my calendar to place my big rocks into my life.
By setting appointments for my big rocks, I give those items the proper attention they deserve.
As we look into the new year, here are three big rocks to put into your calendar that will ensure you have a great new year.
Consistent sales and marketing activities are critical to consistent revenue.
One of the common mistakes I see business owners make is engaging in sales and marketing activities only when they are hungry.
When someone is going through a low revenue point, I ask them what their sales and marketing activities were three months ago.
Often the response I get is from them is there were no sales and marketing activities because they were busy doing work for their customers.
When I create a line graph showing their monthly revenue, it looks like the teeth of a saw.
Revenue goes up, and then it goes down and then it goes up and then it goes down.
It’s a predictable pattern of revenue because the revenue always follows the revenue-generating activities.
These people would be better off picking one or two sales and marketing activities to do each week and executing with pig-headed determination.
This consistent revenue-generating activity will lead to consistent revenue growth.
Consequently, the saw-toothed shaped revenue will flatten and look more like an upward sloping hill.
Often in America, we neglect vacation time.
I know many business owners that never take time off.
They mistakenly believe they have to grind out work for one day in the future when they will be fabulously wealthy.
However, tomorrow never arrives, and they burn themselves out with exhaustion and their minds become dull.
Time away from the business is critical for both the business and the business owner.
Without taking the business owner out of the business, the business will always be crippled because it is relying on the crutch of the business owner to prop it up.
Business owners need to take time away from the business so they can gain a new perspective.
This new perspective helps them the forest outside of the trees that are constantly smacking them in the face.
Most business owners I know started their business because they wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.
Establishing contribution as a big rock in your business brings meaning back into one’s life.
It reestablishes the motivations for why business owners originally started their business.
Earlier this year, I started a business school for my two teenage daughters.
The idea for the business school came as my wife and I were talking about our daughter’s education.
As my wife and I were speaking, I began to share that I wanted my daughters to learn how to run a business.
I concluded that if my children knew how to run a business, they would never have to worry about money.
They would have the skills and knowledge to make money whenever they wanted.
The next week we started our weekly business school class.
The business school has been a deeply rewarding experience for my daughters and me.
It has given me an opportunity to bond with my daughters in a special way.
Now each week, I look forward to each Friday afternoon, where I’ll teach my daughters something new about business.
Hiking taught me to observe big rocks that surround my life.
Big rocks are the most important priorities in my life.
The frenetic pace of my life often pushes unimportant and urgent tasks and activities into my life.
If I’m not consciously diligent in establishing the big rocks in my life, the days pass by.
I don’t move forward on my most important priorities.
As I approach the new year, there are three big that I’ll be focusing on.
Each of these big rocks will be in my monthly calendar so that I ensure that I spend the appropriate time on my most important priorities.
Money making activities will ensure that my business always provides me with cash.
Vacation will give me time to enjoy the freedom my business provides me.
Contribution will bring meaning into my life and provide the fulfillment I truly desire.
These big rocks will provide for an abundant life in the new year.