Last week I stood in front of 40 college students and was asked a question I hear all the time: “How do you balance it all? Business, family, friends, fitness, life, etc.” I had two immediate reactions:

  • Not always very well
  • I don’t believe in balance

But those are other topics for other days. So I gave them the best words I’ve ever heard on the subject. Steven Covey shared this and I have never forgotten it:

  • Take a large jar and fill it full of rocks. Is it full? (usually a few heads nod but more shake)
  • Pour sand around the rocks until it is up to the brim. Is it full? (almost everyone nods yes now)
  • Pour water into the rocks and sand until it overflows. Is it full? (everyone nods at this point)

“What’s the point?” I asked the students.

One excited student yelled out, “There is ALWAYS more time!” This is the response from 99% of the people who hear the illustration.

And it is dead wrong. Unless you have found a way to change the immutable laws of time and physics, the idea that there is always more time is 100% wrong.

The point is that the rocks are the important things in life. The point is that if you don’t put the rocks in first you will never fit them in later. The point is that if you fill your life with sand and water you will never fit the rocks in. The point is that you get to own your life and decide which rocks to put in.

The same is true when building your brand: put the rocks in first. Then worry about the sand and water that will fill in the gaps.

One of our clients has known for 2 years that the key deficit in his current business is his website. But he hasn’t put that rock in yet. We’ve done tens of thousands of dollars of other work for him over the last 2 years while the one thing that could make the biggest difference for his brand has laid dormant.

Put the rocks in first and the other pieces will fall into place.

Keep moving forward,


p.s. One of the pro bono rocks we’ve been working on the last 6 months is ServeFest. ServeFest is a 1 day opportunity for people involved in local churches to go and serve the community. No strings attached, no agenda. The Blue Ocean Ideas team has created the website that tracks projects, registrations, groups that are involved, etc. If you would like to participate we would love to have you. You can find out more at

p.p.s. Here are a few of the rocks I’ve decided to put into my own life. It’s certainly not a perfect list. But it’s what I’ve been doing for a a few years.