One bit of advice I was given by my boss in my twenties was to ‘choose my battles’. These were indeed wise words I have since heeded and shared.
What did she mean by this? For me it was about not wasting my energy, thoughts, anger or disappointment on something I couldn’t really change or affect. What she wanted me to do was and focus on things that had a bigger impact and my efforts would make difference. A war is neither lost nor won with one battle, so why waste your efforts Rebecca?
I’ve read many books since, some with variations on this like ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…’ – having that eye on the prize is important, nobody won a marathon by sprinting ahead at the start – you’re just to exhausted to even finish the race. Sometimes success is just finishing, so you can compete again. The skills in knowing what battles to fight, and which ones just let go. That often only comes with experience.
Some things really do matter, the big things – the strategy, the direction of travel. As a leader it’s important for the team and organisation to be all heading the same direction. There can only be one destination, but the route to get there isn’t necessarily set. The destination is the war, with battles along the way – you don’t need to fight or win them all to get to the end.
Choosing your battles applies to work of course, but it can also apply equally outside too.
For me the ultimate goal in life is to be happy. I don’t mean happy all the time, but I also don’t mean more just content. Happiness comes in many forms, and it’s different for everyone.