We were having our Friday family movie night and watching “Hook” with Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman.  If you haven’t had the chance to see it, or if it has been a while, I would highly recommend it.
Loosely based on Peter Pan, Robin Williams plays a character named Peter Panning.  He has two children, a beautiful wife and a successful career.  Peter had become so wrapped up in his “grownup” life that he had forgotten how to have fun.  At one point, the family goes to England to be part of a celebration honoring Granny Wendy.  Peter was on his fifth or sixth phone call with his office back home, when his wife grabbed the phone from his hand and tossed it out the window.  In a beautiful English accent she said, “Peter, we only have a few special years with our children, and then they’re gone.  YOU ARE MISSING IT!”


In this particular instance, I was grateful I was snuggling next to my kiddos while watching the movie, but I can’t tell you the number of times I have caught myself checking my email, puttering on my phone, or working, when I could have been spending time NOT MISSING IT!

We get so wrapped up in our “grown up stuff” that we are missing out on the things that really matter.  It seems we have a constant desire to be more, do more, and have more.  If this sounds anything like you, what important pieces of your life are you missing?

I’ve talked about the importance of focusing on High Payoff Activities or HPA’s.  These are the 20% of the activities we do on a regular basis that bring us 80% of our results.  When I’m coaching or working with teams we discuss the importance of planning and focusing on these activities because they provide the biggest payoff in our productivity.

It occurred to me that work is not the only place we should focus on our High Payoff Activities.  Maybe, if we spent more time identifying and focusing on our HPA’s in our personal lives, we would miss less and enjoy more.

What are your personal HPA’s?  Is it spending time with your family?  Taking time out for your favorite hobby?  Or what about taking a few minutes each day to just sit in silence and breathe?

If you ever find yourself “missing it”, take some time this week to identify your top 6 HPA’s in your personal life.  Try to get as specific as possible and actually schedule some of these activities.  In the movie, Peter Panning got a chance to go back to Neverland and rediscover his priorities.  Unfortunately, this is the only chance we’ve got.  If we’re not careful, life will continue to go on around us and one day we’ll look up and realize we’ve missed it.


  1. Wonderful concept – personal HPAs. I will give that some thought. I find my HPAs have changed drastically over time.

    Thanks for the heads-up on Hook. Any other recommendations? Movies my four year old daughter really liked: Babe, Charlottes’s Web, Lassie,(1994, she really cried near the end when Lassie almost died), and UP (another great family movie about what is important in life). Babe and CW required alot of explaining. She got it, and insisted on seeing them twice.

  2. Hey John! Great to hear from you. Hook is a great film, but I wouldn’t recommend it for your kiddo until she’s a little older. It isn’t animated and has some parts that can be scary. I still can’t watch Lassie!

    I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for the comment! Will you be walking with us for NAMI on Oct. 2nd?

  3. Wow. This hits close to home. I think we can all relate. Over the last several years I have “missed it” with all the activites I was engaged in as a political official: social functions, meetings, numerous phone calls (most of which were on the weekends), and mutliple positions on various boards, etc… I feel as though I certainly “missed it” with regard to my personal life. Thankfully, I had a wake up call, and luckily before I “missed it” all with my husband and my family. Sometimes, we want to give so much that we have nothing left for ourselves and the people who truly mean everything to us. Thank you for this message, Anne.

  4. I was checking email, etc and catching up on facebook/linkedin when I ran across this post. The rest of my family was watching a movie downstairs. After i read this, i put down the ipad and went to watch with them. Although I missed the movie, I got a few minutes of snuggle time and then we played a card game before the kids went to bed. If I had not read this article I would have missed out on a really good 30 minutes. Thank you.

  5. Hi Julia, great to hear from you. I often catch myself doing the same thing, and I have to snap myself back into important priority world. I’m glad you had some snuggle time 🙂

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