A professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began he quietly picked up a large empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks.
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor 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 rocks.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The students laughed. The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things—your family, your partner, your health, your children—anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed.
"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, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. So pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.”
"Take care of the rocks first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. And remember that the rest is just sand."
I’ve appreciated this version of Steven Covey’s “Rocks and Sand” story for many years. This past summer I decided to make my own jar as a reminder of this story. My children and husband helped me find many beautiful rocks. As we filled the jar, I decided that I didn’t want any sand, only rocks and pebbles.
And that’s how I want my life to be—focused on those things that are important and that matter to me. Regardless of my intentions, that darn sand keeps trying to get in my jar! For example, every fall I feel compelled to register our children in a variety of extra-curricular activities. My husband, thankfully, has held his ground. Our children do not need to constantly be busy—and neither do we (I am grateful for my rocks).
Rock solid wellness programs
I think we can all easily identify the priorities or rocks in our own lives when we have the space and time to do so. That said, it’s likely not as easy to do the same in our school or jurisdiction employee wellness initiatives. But it’s an important question that should be addressed often: What are the rocks in your employee wellness initiative?
A few tips to identify your rocks:
- Do you know what your employees need? They are your rocks!
- What are the goals of your initiative(s)? What are you trying to achieve? These are definitely rocks.
- What is already being done in your school or jurisdiction to promote staff wellness? Some important rocks.
- Who has already created a staff wellness strategy? What can be learned from them? The wise rocks.
- What, of all the things you’re doing, can’t be dropped from the list without sacrificing results? Rocks again.
Do you have any tips for determining the rocks or important priorities of your wellness initiatives? Comment below and share them with The Sandbox community!