Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Big Rocks

"The tutor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty glass jar and proceeded to fill it with big rocks. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
So the tutor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the big rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The tutor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous - - yes.
The tutor then produced a can of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour it into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the tutor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life.
The big rocks are the important things - - your family, your partner, your health, your children, your friends, your favourite passions - - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full."
"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else - - the small stuff."
"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the big rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Fall in love. Spend time with your friends. Take your partner out for a meal. There will always be time to go to work, go to the gym, give a dinner party and clean the car.
Take care of the big rocks first - - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The tutor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a drink!"

What are your 'Big Rocks'? Do you put them in your jar first or do you tip a lot of 'Sand' in at the same time?  Take a few moments to list your 'Big Rocks', 'Pebbles' and 'Sand' and prioritise them in your mind. Then it's time for a celebratory drink!

For help in getting your priorities in order, see:


  1. We speak the same language for sure! I've heard that story many times, but it is always a good reminder. Sometimes it is hard for people to figure out their big rocks. They have spent so much time on the pebbles that they have forgotten what the big rocks really are.

    That was me at one time. I lived (almost literally) at work in a large corporate consulting firm. Everything was about work. Then, my son was born and everything changed. Fortunately for me, I recognized that big rock when I had not given enough attention to the others. A year after his birth, I left that big corporate job and started my own business. I have not looked back.

    One of my joys in life is to help people regain balance and put systems in place to ensure the rocks are focused on and the sand and pebbles can slip in. It is SO important to LIVE life. Thanks again for the reminder.
    To your Success!