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Thursday, April 21, 2011

What is Your Urgency Level? | BEING THERE WHEN IT COUNTS

Rick Itzkowich
Being There When It Counts with Rick Itzkowich

As I draft this article, today is the deadline for filing 2010 Federal and State income tax returns in the USA. Even though it is a few days later than normal, I spoke to two people today who apologized profusely for having to reschedule our appointments because they had to rush out to pick up their tax returns from their CPA’s office. They then would need to go stand in line at their local post office in order to have their returns mailed and postmarked by the 11:59 p.m. deadline.

While their appointments with me were important (we were, in fact, discussing some potentially big business deals), meeting the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) deadline was URGENT. And urgency trumps importance.

Here’s how the dictionary defines both terms:

: Compelling or requiring immediate action or attention; imperative; pressing.
Important: Of much or great significance or consequence; mattering much.

Interestingly the definition for urgency doesn’t mention anything relating to being of great value or significance.

In his book “First Things First,” Steven Covey uses this Time Management Matrix to illustrate how we spend our time.

He mentions “When urgency, not importance, becomes the dominant factor in our lives, the important things get left by the wayside.”

Using the tax deadline example, what was once a Quadrant II activity (filing taxes) became a Quadrant I activity (a crisis). What caused this to happen? It was procrastination, neglect or unconsciousness (habit).

I’ve spent over 30 years in the personal development field, and I can emphatically say the majority of people neglect Quadrant II the most. What is the reason they do this? Quite frankly, it is because they insist on living their life doing Quadrant I activities. Many years ago one of my clients was very interested in doing a workshop to improve his leadership skills. When I asked him to register, he said he needed to wait because he was in between jobs and didn’t feel comfortable making the financial investment while he didn’t have a job. He was confident that he would soon land a job and asked me contact him in a few months. When I followed up with him a few months later, he had indeed found a new job. So, I asked him if this meant he was ready to register for the leadership course. He said he had to wait because he had just started his new job, and he couldn’t take the time off.

I remember saying to him: “Please help me understand. First you wouldn’t register because you didn’t have a job. Now, you won’t register because you HAVE a job. Which one is it?”

People exhibit similar behavior while networking. They spend most of their time doing Quadrant I activities while neglecting Quadrant II activities. And the cycle is self perpetuating.

I currently spend the majority of my time doing presentations teaching people how to network more effectively by combining face-to-face networking with LinkedIn. During these presentations people really grasp how powerful this combination is, as well as how it can help them generate a lot more future business. Many of them sign up for a monthly coaching program I offer to guide them through the in’s and out’s of using LinkedIn, and they are eager to get going. This program is designed to be implemented in approximately 1 hour per week.

Invariably about 25% of the people drop out of the program within the first 60 days. Their main reason for doing so is -- they are too busy and overwhelmed with all the activities in Quadrant 1. They focus on meeting the short-term demands of their business while neglecting to invest in the long-term future of their business. This approach perpetuates their “urgency addiction.”

The next time you are forced to deal with an urgent matter – remember, it’s probably a result of having neglected something that was important, but not urgent. It is only when we shift our attention and resources from Quadrant I to Quadrant II that we will see significant long-lasting improvements in our business and personal lives.

This month's QuoteAction is by Actor, Michael Landon

"The tougher the fight, the more important the mental attitude."

Your action is to reflect on something that you are struggling with and then check on your current mental attitude.

Enjoy an Extraordinary Month!

Click *here* to find out more about QuoteActions and some of the other innovative products and services offered by THE NATIONAL NETWORKER.

Rick Itzkowich
The LinkedIn Guy

As the creator of
QuoteActions, a unique relationship building system, Rick Itzkowich finds his articles, podcasts and blog messages regarding keeping your brand "top of mind" in high demand.

His, latest product
Link Power Coaching Program, is a must for those people wanting to earn money using LinkedIn.

Rick is also the Co-founder of
Productive Learning & Leisure, a personal development training company for corporations and individuals.

Rick can be reached at

For more information, please visit Rick's TNNWC Bio.

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The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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