How PACTS can help us connect purpose to priorities

Life can be a roller coaster at times. Sometimes we are just about managing to juggle our competing priorities before they become conflicting priorities. Sometimes we are squeezed right up tight against a critical deadline. Other times we feel lost, cast adrift and long for the cut and thrust of meaningful activity.

Sometimes we can get caught up in the minutia of the moment and we can very easily loose our perspective whether we are too busy or not busy enough!

Here’s an exercise that I call PACTS which, in less than 5 minutes, can help us reconnect with our higher purpose whenever we need to (and that’s best done on a very regular basis!). The great thing about this is that all the components seem to flow so naturally when we do it a few times. Let me know what you think. What do you do to connect with your purpose when priorities are bearing down on you?

The great thing about this exercise is that it can be done any time any where – with the exception of when we are driving – obviously!

P = Prepare for the simple exercise

This is the very important few moments we give ourselves prior to getting into the zone. Time to turn off or tune out of all noise and distractions wherever you are. For me this includes the simple preparation activity of turning the BlackBerry off. Sometimes I find it useful to gaze into the distance (especially skywards) in a frighteningly unfocused way.

A = Allow ourselves to access a state of Awe.

Awe is defined variously as an overwhelming emotion of reverential fear, admiration or wonder; wonder inspired or caused by something majestic, sublime, powerful, beautiful, mighty, sacred. The point here is to allow our quietened mind to take in the enormity of what is around us. We can wonder at the vastness of the universe as revealed through the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Or the tiny intricacy of the Rhinovirus  There is no preferred formula, just so long as we are able to put ourselves, our priorities, our current concerns into some perspective in a short period of time.

C = Connect to our Core

Now, we allow our thoughts to flow back to ourselves, but back to the core of what we are, our core values, the things that really matter, the things we sometimes take for granted. This is not a thorough examination of all our core values, we just allow ourselves to focus for a few moments on the one or two values that bubble up in this moment. You might want to envision yourself living a particular core value at a high 10. What would you living a perfect expression of that value feel like?

T= Take time to be thankful

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”Marcus Tullius Cicero

Now it the time to be grateful for exactly where we are right now. It doesn’t matter who we  are thankful to, it could be your God or your guide if you have one, Mother Nature, the ‘Universe’, your parents, partner, siblings or friends  – or even the driver who waved you out of your turning and made your commute to work that little bit more human, more hopeful, more positive.

S = Set our success strategy

Right, we are almost ready to reengage with the reality around us. Before we do so, though, a few moments to set / reset our strategy for the rest of the day in the light of the past few minutes in the PACTS process.

It may be that the past 4 minutes has reenergised our commitment to the priority management plan we had already established for the day and we can crack on refreshed.
It may be that new priorities have been thrown up as a result and now need to be actioned or scheduled.
It may be that the past 4 minutes has provided us with further insights, inspiration or resource to enable us to create and control the goals that will help us manage our overall purpose.
It may be that we remember to call our parents or that old friend we have rather taken for granted recently, or just to look someone in the eye and say a meaningful ‘Thank you’ when a good service has been rendered to us.

There it is, a simple, seamless process that can help us reconnect to our purpose and our priorities. I’m curious to know what you think? What simple approaches to you find particularly useful? Feel free to share or link them here.

You can always contact me if you want to know more about how we help people manage their competing priorities, their mandated and optional goals and the critical results that want to achieve.

Photo Copyright: pixelsaway / 123RF Stock Photo

By |2016-12-12T12:03:04+00:00May 18th, 2010|Goal creation and control|3 Comments


  1. Richard Maybury May 25, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Good to hear from you JJ – and to hear about your ‘connectedness’ It is always there, of course, but it is submerged beneath the clatter of doing stuff alongside everyone else doing stuff. Our penchant, then for filling our own space/time with music or other distraction activity digs it deeper.

    DM me with the outcome if you wish – no details – just if it was a recommitment to existing plans – new insights – a new remembering of something important etc.
    I hope the drumming continues to go well for you.

  2. JJ Bones May 25, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Hey Richard, I ran through this exercise on the train to work yesterday. After rereading your mail I pulled out the earphones and went through the stages. (I decided to look out the window at nothing in particular).
    I felt really connected and must have had a big grin on my face by the end of it because 2 people opposite me were smiling at me when I came ‘back in the room’. Good one!

  3. David May 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm


    Thanks for the tips, they are very welcome.


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