We all have responsibilities and tasks that we need to do each day and we all have the same amount of time to do so. Some of them (responsibilities and tasks) are crucial and require being done, in order, for us to reach our goals, others are to ensure that we are healthy and able to do what needs to be done (our own health and well-being) and some are the day-to-day things.
Our Big Rocks are usually ongoing things that can’t always be hurried, like nurturing a relationship, caring for family or running our businesses. The things that need us to continually be working on them.
Other things in our lives (our Pebbles) may not be quite as important as your Big Rocks, but they still take up much of our time! These are the day-to-day tasks like walking the dog, cooking meals or cleaning your home. They might be the smaller tasks you need to do in order to reach the goals (or Big Rocks) that you have prioritized.
Then comes the Sand. These are the things that pop up, during the course of our day. The things that we haven’t always planned, that can often come out of nowhere. We answer a call from a friend, or telemarketer (oh joy, we all love these ones right!), we find we need to duck off to the shops as we’re missing a crucial ingredient for the night’s meal. An unplanned trip to the doctor or hospital or visit from a salesperson. The sand is all of the other things that life throws in our way. They don’t usually start out as a priority for our day, but can become one.
In this metaphor, your life is a glass jar and the rocks, pebbles and sand are your responsibilities. By identifying your Big Rocks, Pebbles and the Sand, you’ll be better able to prioritize and get all that you need to done and remain healthy while doing so.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities (pebbles and sand) and we then find ourselves putting our bigger goals (big rocks) on simmer, because we find we’ve run out of time or no longer have the energy for them.
Imagine that you have all of your rocks, pebbles and sand, and you need to fill your glass jar daily (get everything done and get closer to your goals, that is). Is there enough room for them all?
If you fill the jar with the pebbles and sand first, you’ll find it hard to find space for the bigger rocks.
However, if you put the big rocks in first, then your pebbles and sand will fill in the spaces between the larger rocks.
Remembering to put your Big Rocks before your smaller rocks and sand, is important and helps you find the time to balance and juggle everything. It helps to keep you healthy, in mind, body and soul (if you are one of your Big Rocks, that is. If you’re not, why are you not?).
Why you need to be a Big Rock!
It’s not selfish for us to be a Big Rock and to put our big rock in first. If we aren’t a big rock and putting ourselves first does it leave time for us and what we want to be achieving (our dreams and goals)? Is being a pebble or the sand sustainable? How long can we go on being the pebble or sand before we become unwell or resent it?
Think about this, who is the most important person in your life? Who is your priority?
If you said anyone other than yourself, you would have chosen wrong (stay with me here :)). I’ll explain why shortly.).
As a mother, grandmother, wife, sister, healer, teacher or friend (or male version of these, sorry guys that are reading this :)), it’s not uncommon for us to put everyone else and everything else before our own needs and wants. BUT, if we don’t look after ourselves first, and make ourselves a Big Rock, are we really able to give as much of ourselves to others? I hear some of you still saying yes, and sure you probably can keep giving BUT is it healthy? Do you really enjoy following someone else’s dreams and helping them to reach their goals, while your wants and needs go unheard? Wouldn’t you like to be living your dream too? How long can we remain being the pebble or sand before something has to give (and this is usually our health and well-being).
Before you can be there for anyone else or give others what they need or want, you need to ensure that you give to yourself first. Think of the airplane analogy here, if the oxygen mask falls down and you don’t put it onto yourself first, but choose to help those around you, how long before you collapse and aren’t able to help anyone, let alone yourself?
And once you get straight on what your big rocks are (hopefully by now you are seeing why YOU must be a Big Rock too),
you need to be putting them into your jar first.
Making yourself a Big Rock and giving yourself love, support, encouragement and self care first, is not selfish, it’s a necessity.
Many of us will give our all to help a friend, loved one or even a stranger, but who gives to us? Why is it ok to be there and support others, but we forget about the only person who will ALWAYS be there for us? Ourselves!
It doesn’t mean that we should forget about others or not help when it is needed. It just means that we also need to help, support and love ourselves first, in order to serve from a full cup.
More often than not, we are actually our own worst enemy (when it comes to choosing whether we are the Big Rock, Pebble or the Sand) and find ourselves in the Sand category (we put ourselves there, as only we can choose to be there). We can spend so much time doing everything else, for everyone else that we’re left to find the small gaps around the big rocks and pebbles.
When we feel drained and depleted, this is often because we are giving to others more than what we are taking or putting back into our own glass jars.
Just taking time out and doing the things you would like to do or enjoy can help fill the glass jar.
We owe ourselves the same, if not more than, we would give to our friends and family, to be the best version of us that we can be.
If we are the best version of ourselves we are actually better able to give more. I know there are times where my hubby asks me to do something for him, and it is not a problem at all and I’m happy to help, yet there are times when he asks me to do the exact same thing for him and I resent him even asking me. Why, he asked me to do the same thing right? Yes, but the times when I’m happy to help I’m feeling like my cup is full, I’ve put my Big Rock (me) in first and feeling pretty good and the other times (when I resent being asked) are when I’ve put him and everything else first (I’ve become the sand) and I’m feeling crappy. By filling your own glass jar first you will be better equipped and more happy to help.
If we wait until we are feeling like wet sand (close to breaking or have already reached the breaking point) it can take us longer to get back on top of things, so why not start being a Big Rock today.
So, are you a Big Rock, Pebble or the Sand?
The concept of “Big Rocks” is based on principles outlined by educator and author Stephen R. Covey, author of the popular book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.