I have a short story for you. A university professor stands in front of his class of eager students with a large glass jar on his desk. He informs the class that the jar is, in fact, a symbol of their life and the time they have available to them. The professor then proceeds to place stones about the size of a fist in the jar until no more will squeeze in.
He asks the class whether the jar will hold anymore and a plucky student responded that it obviously won't because it’s full right to the brim. The professor whips out some small gravel stones and tips the gravel into the jar where it slips into the spaces between the stones. Nearly a full bag of gravel is tipped inside the jar.
Again the professor asks the class if it’s now full. They respond that there is probably more space in the jar. The professor agrees and pulls out a bag of sand. He then fills the space in between the gravel with granules of sand.
Yet again the professor turns to the class and asks if it really is full now? The class discuss and agree that it probably is about full now, unless he has some smaller grains of sand?
The professor then whips out a jug of water and he manages to squeeze in a further couple of pints into the bursting jar! He turns to the class and asks them: “What's the point I'm making to you about your life?”
A student responds that the moral of the story is that you can always do more, that you can always squeeze things into your life if they are important. Quickly the professor turns and looks directly at him.
“My dear young man, that’s not the point at all…. what would have happened if I had put the little stones or sand in the jar first and then tried to fit the big stones in?”
“Well they wouldn’t have fitted in,” the student responds.
“Yes and if I had forced them in, then all I would have created would be a big mess…The point to my story is to put the big things, the most important things into your life first otherwise you won’t get them into your life at all!”
So, don’t ignore those big stones. What would the impact be on your own sales or your team’s turnover with a huge bag of wealthy clients added to your business? It’s important to identify those ‘big stones' and make the most of them.
By David White a Partner in Charterhouse, based in Beaconsfield
David White is an equity partner in Charterhouse a practising firm of Chartered Accountants based in Beaconsfield and Harrow. David is Charterhouse through and through having been with them for 30 years...