If I were to summarize my priorities they would be:
It was that simple list that led me down the path to make one of the hardest career decisions I have ever made. Making the decision to leave Mayo Clinic.
I think it is pretty well established the impact that Mayo Clinic has had on me in both my professional and personal life. Starting with Charles Mayo pioneering the pyloric stenosis procedure that saved my life as an infant to bringing me new friends, mentors and an appreciation for life in general that I will never loose.
Ultimately the three hours I was loosing with my family a day were unacceptable and with work being fourth on the list of what is most important, the choice was easy.
I think that this lesson applies in so many ways to so many things. If you are presented with difficult decisions, just ask yourself; “Where does this fall in my list of priorities.”
Doing nothing or making the hard choice may be very easy depending on where things are on your list of priorities.
I have also done this relative to competing in triathlons. While I would love to do much better than I do today in triathlons, I do not want it to take away too much from family in the number of hours I spend training. However, while it might be something that falls lower on the list at first because I find it to be fun, the fact of the matter is that if I do not train and work out my health will suffer impacting my family. That is something I do not want to happen either.
In this case, I was able to find a compromise. I train to finish and to be healthy and focus less on the improvement than I used to. So while it may be easier to make decisions if you have priorities, the answers do not always have to be one over the other. Compromise is healthy too.