Focus on Your Key Goals

Nearly 25 years ago, my wife and I went on a three-week camping trip through National Parks in the West. We flew into Las Vegas, rented a car, borrowed some camping gear, and started for the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons. 

On the third day, after hiking at the Grand Canyon, we returned to our campsite to rest, shower and grab something to eat. We were about to head out again when we realized we couldn’t find the car keys. The car was open, and our tent was accessible, so we knew the keys had to be around somewhere. 

We searched for an hour. We unpacked and repacked the car. We walked the path to the bathhouse. We looked in every pocket, every bag. Nothing. 

Our campsite was about 75 miles from any car dealer. We had no cell phone, and I was starting to panic. 

Jerry Seinfeld has a bit where he says, “Candy was my whole life when I was a kid. That was… First ten years of my life, I think the only clear thought I had was: “GET CANDY!”

My one clear thought at that moment was KEYS, GET KEYS.

I was laser-focused. 

Finding those keys was the ONE key to unlocking the rest of our adventurous vacation.

Fast forward twenty-five years, and I begin each week with a legal pad list of things I want to accomplish. Some are for work. Others are personal. 

Last week’s list had thirty items listed, some with subitems. 

I didn’t accomplish all of them—I’m actually surprised at how many I got done—but a couple are still staring me in the face. 


They are the most critical tasks on the list. 

They are the ones that will move our Leadercast work and my personal goals forward.

So, this week, I won’t judge my to-do list based on how many things I did. I will judge it by if I got the big ones done. 

I will focus on those items–like I focused on finding those keys.

I will make my regular list, but I will BOX and HIGHLIGHT two tasks on work and personal lists and ensure I get those done.

They are the keys to unlocking my life and our work to get where we want to go. 

They are THE GOALS for the week. 

Before I close, let me ask you a question: How do you ensure you get the right things done each week? If you have something that works great for you, e-mail me at

After all, we are all on this leadership development journey together, and I would love to learn from you.

By the way, we found the keys. They were hanging on the back of the door in the men’s restroom. I still wonder why my wife was in there 😉.


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is the Chief Operating Officer for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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