SCORE Small Business Blog

Success: Tip 4 – Get Your Priorities Straight

tip_no4“Get your priorities straight!” is typically a comment or barb that is hurled at you when you’ve done something wrong. But at YSN we’ve come to think of them as a source of clarity that empowers you, makes you happier…and of course, makes you more successful. In fact, we created an entire assessment to help people figure this out, but here’s one of its juiciest secrets. Having a clear sense of YOUR priorities is critical to making the right choices and keeping you on the right path.

Think of your priorities as a personal decision-making filter. Any time you have a decision to make that involves allocating your time, money or energy, from where to spend the weekend to how to spend the next few years of your life, run the idea through this PRIORITY FILTER.

Take the next 3 minutes and a pick out your top 5 priorities from the list below.

ACHIEVEMENT (sense of accomplishment)
ADVANCEMENT (promotions)
ADVENTURE (new and challenging experiences)
AFFECTION (love, caring)
COMPETITIVENESS (winning, taking risks)
COOPERATION (working well with others)
CREATIVITY (being imaginative, innovative)
ECONOMIC SECURITY (financial stability, independence)
FAME (being famous, well-known)
FREEDOM (autonomy, independence)
FRIENDSHIP (close relations with others)
INTEGRITY (honesty, standing up for one’s beliefs)
INVOLVEMENT (participating, belonging)
LOCATION (city/country, near family/friends)
LOYALTY (duty, respect, obedience)
ORDER (tranquility, stability, conformity)
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT (use of potential)
PLEASURE (fun, laughs, leisurely lifestyle)
POWER (control, authority, influence over others)
PRESTIGE (reputation, image, status)
RECOGNITION (acknowledgement of worth)
RESPONSIBILITY (accountable for results)
SELF-RESPECT (personal pride, identity)
VARIETY (diversity of projects, newness)
WEALTH (making money, getting rich)

Those top 5 are your own PRIORITY FILTER. Keep the list in your wallet, on your wall, in your desk–wherever you can see it often and refer to it quickly. But first, take it for a spin. Test it out on your current job or career path. It should tell you a lot!

Jennifer Kushell is the author of the New York Times Bestseller Secrets of the Young & Successful: How to Get Everything You Want Without Waiting a Lifetime. As President & Co-founder of YSN, Jennifer has dedicated her life to helping young professionals and entrepreneurs in over 130 countries find success through powerful tools like the YSN Assessment.

Jennifer Kushell, Guest Blogger
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Discussion (2) Comment

  1. TeriVisitor

    Awesome conceptual framework! I’m a “big picture” person as well.

    However, I have one question: I have varied interest.

    1) I am a somewhat successful training consultant (teambuilding),
    2) My heart is in nonprofit and I started one a few years ago (support or single moms- SistersHelpingSisters.Org.)
    3) I am a pretty good webdesigner. Although I don’t market, clients find me regularly.

    How do I consolidate all of this. My priorities are the same with each. Just feel like a “Jack of all trades”.

    What do you think?

  2. Lisa GatesVisitor

    Jennifer, this is great. I’d like to add a distinction: values and priorities. Your fabulous list is really all about values, and what you’re asking people to do is prioritize what they value.

    Because values are so personal and intrinsic, spending a little more time really honing in on them BEFORE prioritizing would add more authenticity and sticking power to their choices.

    2 cents


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