In parts 1-3 of the priorities series you determined your priorities, made a list of the costs vs benefits of your current life choices, and prioritized your priorities based on the analysis of those costs and benefits. Now it’s time to find your strengths and weaknesses, also known as your resources and limitations, that will either help or hinder your success.
There’s a great quote by Mr. Rogers that makes its way around the internet every time there’s a horrible tragedy: “When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.” The same is true when you’re making changes in your life.
For each activity you need help with, there will be someone who can help. It may not be the person you want it to be, or even who you think it will be, but there is someone. It might even be several someones who form a sort of helping team for you. Sometimes a new acquaintance will be more helpful than a long time friend, and sometimes a long time friend will flat out refuse to help.
The people in your life are great resources, but not all of your resources will be people.
What resources do you have at your disposal to help you meet your priorities? Start by making a list of everyone who might be willing and able to help you with some aspect of one of your priorities. Leave room to add more in as you think of them later; you don’t want to forget anyone.
Also list your non-human resources like:
Next to each name or item, list the thing or things they might be able to do for you or how they might assist. For instance, if your kids are old enough, they can do some/more housework, which will free up some time for you to engage in self-care, studying, or what ever else you need time for. They could also help get you get full use of all of your smart phone’s functionality.
Now, make the same type of lists with everyone and everything that might limit or restrain your ability to meet your goal or priority. Many of the same people and items on your strengths list will also be on your weaknesses list, for different reasons. Be prepared for more crossover than you initially anticipate.
Next to each person or thing on your new list, write/type all the ways you won’t get support or help from that person or thing. For instance, you spouse may not be supportive of you changing your job if it means you’ll be making less money. Your mother may think your chronic pain is all in your head.
Don’t fret about who or what makes your list of resources and who doesn’t, knowing what your resources are and where they’re coming from is the important thing. Ditto for your limitations.
This exercise isn’t for the faint of heart, but then again, neither is pursuing your dreams, goals, and priorities.
Were you surprised at who and what made each list? Tell me about your biggest surprise in the comments.