“Get your priorities straight!” is typically a comment or barb that is hurled at you when you’ve done something wrong. But at YSN we’ve come to think of them as a source of clarity that empowers you, makes you happier…and of course, makes you more successful. In fact, we created an entire assessment to help people figure this out, but here’s one of its juiciest secrets. Having a clear sense of YOUR priorities is critical to making the right choices and keeping you on the right path. Think of your priorities as a personal decision-making filter. Any time you have a decision to make that involves allocating your time, money or energy, from where to spend the weekend to how to spend the next few years of your life, run the idea through this priority filter.

Take the next 3 minutes and a pick out your top 5 priorities from the list below:

  • ACHIEVEMENT (sense of accomplishment)
  • ADVANCEMENT (promotions)
  • ADVENTURE (new and challenging experiences)
  • AFFECTION (love, caring)
  • COMPETITIVENESS (winning, taking risks)
  • COOPERATION (working well with others)
  • CREATIVITY (being imaginative, innovative)
  • ECONOMIC SECURITY (financial stability, independence)
  • FAME (being famous, well-known)
  • FREEDOM (autonomy, independence)
  • FRIENDSHIP (close relations with others)
  • INTEGRITY (honesty, standing up for one’s beliefs)
  • INVOLVEMENT (participating, belonging)
  • LOCATION (city/country, near family/friends)
  • LOYALTY (duty, respect, obedience)
  • ORDER (tranquility, stability, conformity)
  • PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT (use of potential)
  • PLEASURE (fun, laughs, leisurely lifestyle)
  • POWER (control, authority, influence over others)
  • PRESTIGE (reputation, image, status)
  • RECOGNITION (acknowledgement of worth)
  • RESPONSIBILITY (accountable for results)
  • SELF-RESPECT (personal pride, identity)
  • VARIETY (diversity of projects, newness)
  • WEALTH (making money, getting rich)

Those top 5 are your own PRIORITY FILTER. Keep the list in your wallet, on your wall, in your desk--wherever you can see it often and refer to it quickly. But first, take it for a spin. Test it out on your current job or career path. It should tell you a lot! Jennifer Kushell is the author of the New York Times Bestseller Secrets of the Young & Successful: How to Get Everything You Want Without Waiting a Lifetime. As President & Co-founder of YSN, Jennifer has dedicated her life to helping young professionals and entrepreneurs in over 130 countries find success through powerful tools like the YSN Assessment. Jennifer Kushell, Guest Blogger View more posts by SCORE’s Guest Bloggers