For some 25 years I have asked superintendent attendees at the dozens of Career Counseling workshops I have presented to prioritize the following five elements (presented in alphabetical order) that collectively drive the course of each of our lives: Career - Country - Family - God - Self.
Judging where these five elements fit within your life plan is more than a game. It is a prudent exercise to identify the sequencing of priorities that will best ensure your life's effectiveness.
After presenting this issue to several thousand superintendent workshop attendees over 25-plus years, after noting their initial varied responses, and finally after allowing these attendees to define each of the five elements through debate -- the clear consensus opinion for the optimum sequencing of life's developmental building blocks was as you see below:
Many discounted self as a top priority because they assumed it meant selfishly taking care of themselves before others -- when self is intended to measure to what degree a person is able to develop his/her personal skill sets.
Only an individual who has committed to fully developing his/her innate talents can become an effective parent, spouse, citizen, leader, career professional, etc.
Your career and family welfare will advance in direct correlation to your level of commitment to self-development.
God (i.e.- religion/spirituality) is positioned second because life is unfair and can throw debilitating curveballs at anyone any time that discourage and sometimes leave us without hope to such a degree that only spiritual guidance will see us through life.
Belief in a spiritual being of one's choice is God's way of providing each of us with the ultimate 'life insurance' policy.
Because dysfunctional families fail themselves and humanity every day, parents have a responsibility to each other, their children and mankind to raise their children within enduring stable family environments. Broken families weaken the fiber of society as inner city ghettos prove every day.
Because misdirected governments and bad economies undermine business, family life and every individual -- as we see today with 93 million (+/- 52%) out of the U.S. work force -- it is imperative that citizens participate to ensure getting the best government possible. A weakened country undermines the lives and careers of every citizen.
The career concept has been positioned last because careers will have the best chance to flourish only when the prior listed four life-directing elements are in place and pave the way.
Whether you specifically agree with the sequencing presented above is far less important than your determining what sequence best serves your life's purpose because ignoring or leaving this sequencing to chance will rarely take you to your promised land.