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Major On The Majors

5Ls Leadership Tip


Major on the Majors



In our last leadership article, ‘Getting to Your Team’s Heart’, we focused on what you needed to do for your team as a leader.  Today, we are going to focus on how the 5Ls can help you directly.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Just major on the majors”?  I had not until a number of years ago. What it basically means is focus the majority of your time on the most important items. This was a phrase my former CEO would say to me during our one-on-one touchpoints. “Major on the Majors Mannix”. At first, I was a bit put off and a little offended. Did he really think I didn’t understand what the priorities were?  However, what I didn’t realize, being an over achiever and a caretaker, I was trying to take care of everything and everyone.  In my mind, to be successful meant to accomplish everything and do it exceptionally well. I must have believed that there was a big “S” under my shirt. The reality is there wasn’t one and I am not a superhero, so I crashed and burned.  I learned the hard way you can’t please everyone, self-sacrifice helps no one and there are only 24 hours in a day.

Let’s take this concept a step further, Majoring on the Majors is not just for your professional life.  It is a mantra you should incorporate in your personal life as well. This is where The 5Ls comes in.  The 5Ls are the “Majors” you need to focus on to support you in all aspects of your life. Here are just a few examples:


LOVE - Where most people and leaders fail is constantly self-sacrificing. One of the critical tools we talk about in our #1 New Release Bestselling book “The 5Ls - The Gift a of Balanced Life” is the Oxygen Mask Theory. Just like in a plane you need to put your oxygen mask on you first. You can not help others if you do not take care of yourself first. Bottom Line.


LAUGHTER - Not taking yourself too seriously is key to your mental wellbeing and your long-term success and ability to perform.  You are not a superhero, and you can’t do it all.  I know that might sound shocking but it’s reality.  So put away your cape and learn to use stress management and the power of positive thinking.  Oh, and enjoy life and laugh a bit. It will work wonders.


LABOR - Work on the most important things first.  These need to be the high priority items that will move you forward in your career, your personal life and help you to reach your goals.  Do not let yourself be distracted by all the noise.  If you focus on the big items, the Majors, with passion and purpose, you will be amazed on how this will propel you forward in every aspect of your life. 


LEISURE - High performers sacrifice this the most. There is no time to take off and disconnect right? WRONG! You take time to recharge your phone. Is your device more important than you? A recent study from the World Health Organization found that working long hours, such as 55 hours a week, causes a 35% higher risk for stroke and 17% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease.  You need to carve out time to shut off and recharge.  We call it finding your “ME TIME”.  You will actually perform at a higher level if you take time to reset.


LEAVE - Besides death and taxes the one constant you can count on in life is ‘change’. While this is hard for most type A’s (coming from a type A), you need to come to grips with the fact that you can only control the controllable. Let the rest go. Learn to pivot and adjust the sails.  Knowing when to leave a bad decision or the old way of doing things and embracing change is the key to long term success and mental wellbeing.


Let me share another thought. One of the tools we teach in our leadership classes, on the process of time management / Majoring on the Majors, is the Bottle, Big Rocks and Sand concept.  Here is the premise: 

The Bottle = you or the amount of time you have
The Big Rocks = the truly important things that will move you forward (The Majors)
The Sand = all the noise and or things that fill up your day that are truly just distractions

So, the question is poised, if you need to get all the rocks and sand in the bottle, what goes in first?

Answer – If you put the sand in first you will never fit all the big rocks.  However, if you put the big rocks in first then add the sand, the sand will have to make its way around the big rocks. More importantly if you cannot fit all the sand… who cares its only sand.

Bottom Line- The 5Ls, what they can do for you and finding the balance in them is the Majors - Big Rocks you need to Major on. If you do this, you will be amazed by the positive impact it will have on your personal and professional life and the people that count on you.

 -  Dan, thanks again for introducing me to the Majors concept.



If you want to learn more on how the 5Ls can make a difference for you and your team, contact us at or visit

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