New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

Summit of Greatness 2024 | September 13-14 | Los Angeles, CA


Michael Hyatt

Respect Your Priorities

“The essence of leadership is to serve.”

A lot of times in life we do what we feel is urgent. We will go so far as to put off what we really need to do in order to take care of urgent things.

Often we even put it ahead of taking care of ourselves.

It’s really unfortunate because if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of the urgent. You can’t work from a hospital bed.

That’s why you need to have priorities. Priorities will guide you in life’s decisions and keep you on track.

Most importantly, priorities will give you the confidence to say no. They help you identify what’s truly needed in your life, versus what someone else feels is important.

On this episode of 5-Minute Friday, I wanted to dive into the importance of setting priorities and sticking to them.

There’s no one I know who practices this better than Michael Hyatt.

Michael is a social media marketing wizard and has worked for one of the biggest publishing companies.

Learn his insights on staying true to what’s necessary, on Episode 669.

“When we have priorities we can distinguish between the urgent and the important.”  

Some Questions I Ask:

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The essence of leadership (00:55)
  • How Michael discovered his priorities (1:38)
  • What gave Michael clarity (3:20)
  • The difference between urgent and important (4:11)
  • Plus much more…

Show Notes:

Connect with
Michael Hyatt

Transcript of this Episode

Lewis Howes:                 This is 5-Minute Friday!!

Welcome everyone to this special episode with my dear friend, Michael Hyatt. He’s the New York Times Bestselling author, he’s the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and he has a blog that gets over a million unique visitors a month.

And he’s also an expert in the field of social media. His blog is ranked, by Google, in the top one half percent of all blogs, with more than one million page views a month, and Forbes Magazine named him one of the top ten online marketing experts to follow and one of the top fifty social media influencers.

Michael is one of those guys that just spews integrity, and everything he creates is of the highest value.

* * *

Lewis Howes:                 I always tell people, “You know, the most important person in the world is yourself. And if you’re neglecting all of your needs first, and giving to everyone else and not to you, then you’re not going to be able to serve more people.”

Michael Hyatt:                That’s the key, what you just said, Lewis. Because, to me, the essence of leadership is service. I want to serve my wife, I want to serve my kids and my sons-in-law, and my grandkids. I want to serve the people that work for me. But if I’m sick, I can’t do that.

If my marriage is blown up, I can’t do that. If my business is in trouble or I’m financially spinning out of control, I can’t do that. So, these priorities are really important to identify. Now, it really helps in kind of the warp and woof of life, when you have to make some really tough decisions.

Another example: In 2009 I was the CEO of Thomas Nelson, we were in the middle of the recession, it was brutal.

Lewis Howes:                 Thomas Nelson is the publishing company?

Michael Hyatt:                It’s a publishing company, at the time it was the seventh largest publishing company in the US. It was acquired by Harper-Collins, now a division of Harper-Collins. And we were in the middle of a recession, it was hand-to-hand combat and we were working like crazy just trying to keep the ship afloat.

And I was tired, I was wrung out, I wasn’t spending as much time with my wife as I knew I needed to, or with my family. And so I told the board, I said, “I’ve got to have a vacation, guys. Otherwise I’m just going to burn out.” And they said, “Great. Do it.”

So, we decided we’re going to go to Colorado, deep in the Rockies, and just unplug and unwind.

Lewis Howes:                 Yeah. Did you go snowboarding or skiing? Or just hang out? Hiking?

Michael Hyatt:                Yeah, no, at this time it was the winter, so we were at a friend’s cabin, really deep in the woods, but we had kind of like, fantasized about this for weeks and weeks and weeks. So, we were flying in to Denver, we were going to drive up into the mountains.

And we had to stop in Dallas, change planes, and I made the mistake of checking my e-mail. There was a message from the chairman of my board, and he said, “Hey, change of plans. I need you back in Nashville on Monday.” He said, “We’re coming in. We’ve got some issues that we need to resolve.”

I mean, my heart sank. I just thought, “Ah!” So I handed my phone to Gail, and I let her read it and, of course she was crestfallen also, but to her credit, she said, “Honey, I know this is tough. You do whatever you need to do. I’ll totally support it.”

And she’s always been like that. She was great. So, I remembered my priorities: me, then Gail, and then the kids, and then the job. So I took a deep breath, it wasn’t easy, but my priorities gave me courage. That’s the key thing.

Lewis Howes:                 And clarity.

Michael Hyatt:                Clarity and courage. And when you have that, you can say no to the non-essentials, so that you can say yes to what’s most important. So, I wrote back to the chairman, and I said, “Hey, I understand. I really wish you’d postpone this meeting. If you can’t, my team will be there to assist you, I’m going to Colorado, as we discussed. See you when I get back.”

So I left. So, I didn’t check my e-mail [again], but I got back from the end of that trip, and I checked with my CFO when I got back from that trip. I said, “Hey, did the guys come in?” They came in from New York.

And he said, “Yeah.” I said, “What was the meeting about?” He said, “Oh, I don’t know, but we totally could have handled it by e-mail.”

Lewis Howes:                 Oh, my gosh!

Michael Hyatt:                It was like a nothing meeting!

Lewis Howes:                 No big deal, yeah, yeah.

Michael Hyatt:                No big deal, and I would have scuttled a much needed vacation. But, see, when we have priorities, we can distinguish between the urgent and the important. And, sometimes, the urgent shows up like it’s important, but it rarely is. But you got to get clear on your priorities.

So we, literally, in the Life Plan, have you come up with your life accounts, and then arrange them in order and they’ll change based on the seasons in your life.

Lewis Howes:                 Sure, yeah. So when you’re at twenty, and when you’re at thirty it’s going to be different, essentially.

Michael Hyatt:                Yeah, so it’s a living document, it’s a living document. You’re going to tweak it for the rest of your life. I was even working on mine today, coming out.

Lewis Howes:                 Hey, guys! If you enjoyed this inspirational clip from a past episode of the show, then you’ll love the free book I’m giving away right now. It’s called The Millionaire Morning. It includes some of my best tips for starting off your day with a millionaire mindset. Get your free copy at and just pay shipping.

Again, check it out right now,

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