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Far Reads Recap: Today Matters

Today Matters

Our latest Far Reads book club pick was “Today Matters” by John C. Maxwell. Here’s our recap.

Who Selected It

The whole team!

Why We Selected It

Last fall, our whole team did a 10-week leadership training using Maxwell’s “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” book. The team got a lot out of the training and wanted to build on what we learned. So, for our next Far Reads book, we wanted one that would further our understanding of the principles we had studied and figured the best way to do that was to select a book by the same author.

What It’s About

In Today Matters, Maxwell focuses on 12 daily practices, affectionately known as the Daily Dozen, that he says lead to success:

  1. Attitude
  2. Priorities
  3. Health
  4. Family
  5. Thinking
  6. Commitment
  7. Finances
  8. Faith
  9. Relationships
  10. Generosity
  11. Values
  12. Growth

The daily activities and habits you form, which should be formed purposefully, drive tomorrow’s success. Make important decisions today and stick to them for a better tomorrow.

Lessons Learned

Normally when we recap a Far Reads book, each team member reveals a different lesson learned. However, with Today Matters, the entire team walked away with pretty similar themes:

  • Work on 1-2 areas at a time; “focusing” on all 12 is overwhelming (Who can focus on 12 things at once?)
  • Doing something is better than doing nothing—just start.
  • The small things we do today have a big impact on tomorrow.

The book helped us take what we learned in the 21 Laws of Leadership book and continue to apply it. with tangible next steps.

How We’re Applying What We Learned

Today Matters includes an activity where you rank yourself on the 12 daily habits. Each team member filled out the ranking before we started reading the book and after we completed it to help us identify our own strengths and weaknesses in the 12 daily practices.

Moving forward, each team member has a slightly different approach to applying what we learned. Some are focusing on their strengths and making them stronger, while others are looking to improve their lowest-ranking practices. Some of us, myself included, took the ranking with a grain of salt and simply identified the practices that are important to us and where we see room for improvement.

From the team members willing to share the practices they plan to work on, there are some common themes.

Which of the 12 practices are you going to work on? Why? How?

  • Me: Relationships and Health. Health has been important to me the last few years, and I lost focus toward the end of grad school. For improving relationships, I have identified the people most important to me and will set goals for reaching out to them.
  • Kelly: Health, specifically getting quality sleep. I'm finding it's foundational to other areas—if I'm not sleeping well, I'm not able to think clearly, have a positive attitude, or fully be engaged with those close to me.
  • Kate: Priorities because, you know the saying, when everything is a priority, nothing is. Trying to focus on multiple priorities at the same time slows everything down and makes it harder to make significant progress on any one thing.
  • Brian: Values and Health. I think I have an idea of my values, but I need to make sure I am 100% committed to them so I don't slip in times of trial/testing. Health because I want to be able to remain active and fit throughout my life, and the work now will pay dividends in my 70s/80s/etc.
  • Angie: Relationships. I’m focusing on building up my relationships by being more present in each moment with someone else. 
  • Jen: Health. I don't take care of myself as well as I should, and I know that affects what I can do now and in the future. I have been making more of an effort to be active and get better sleep.
  • Tyler: Health and Values. Each of these has a direct impact on my life each day, and I want to be the best person I can be at work, at home, at church, or wherever where I am.
  • James: Relationships. I ranked this as one of the practices where I'm not strong, but I perceive that my ability to make stronger connections with others will lead to increased satisfaction in both my personal and professional lives. To work on this practice, I plan on fighting my introvert instincts by being more open and reaching out to others.
  • Chris: Relationships and Thinking. Relationships: I started working on relationships earlier this year as I recognized that spending meaningful time with others is super valuable, both at work and in my personal life. For example, instead of eating lunch at my desk, I eat in the kitchen with other team members. Building meaningful relationships takes effort but, I believe, leads to better communication and team chemistry. Thinking: I think taking time to be purposeful in thinking can lead to new ideas, better planning, and overall happiness. It’s easy to just jump into your daily routine and get stuff done. It is equally important to reflect on and/or plan your day and think from a higher-level perspective.
For our next Far Reads book, we’re diving deeper into company culture with Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love by Richard Sheridan. Look for a recap in a few months!