Endings prepare us for new beginnings.  The sun-sets on another year as Christmas lurks just around the corner.  This year more so than other years has flown by and I was glad back in August that I carved out some creative time to reflect on my most important things and get more focussed on my priorities.

Most Important Things

Being a creative type, I decided that words and lists were too boring and set about designing a visual roadmap with a 12-week action plan that would cover the quarter September – December.  I created my big rocks then went about adding colour and icons to represent different elements of what needed to be actioned and defining what success looks like. It was a lot of fun as I played with prototypes before settling on the final design.

At the beginning of the quarter, I didn’t have all the information that I needed but I knew that as the weeks unfolded, I would have greater clarity and then could add in new key actions as needed.  In this way, it’s become a flowing and fluid roadmap that keeps me focussed on the Most Important Things (I call these MIT’s) in my work and personal life.

I knew it would only work if I did one thing – made it extremely visible.  For me, that meant it had to be in the kitchen.  I stuck it on the wall right above the kitchen bench that I use all the time and where the kettle is.  Every time I’m in the kitchen, I see it and also when I’m waiting for the jug to boil, I have about 2-3 minutes to do a check-in on how I’m going to remind myself of the big picture – my vision.

What started out as a personal tool has been incredibly effective and quickly became a tool for some of my clients.  Ironically, when I took it to a local shop to make a few A3 colour copies for people, a graphic designer who was doing the copying was intrigued and asked me how it worked.  I did a quick explanation (a bit of coaching on the spot!), and she told me that she needed a tool like this.  That’s when I realised this has so much more potential so this week I’ve engaged her to add some additional designer flair and turn it into a product.  Timing couldn’t be better as I need to do my next 12-week plan for the January – March quarter.  And so do my clients.


Creativity and innovation come in unexpected forms.  The first step is always to create the space, the blank canvas from which to work from and play with.  We are all creative by nature and I had 2 key elements – the realisation that I wanted more traction on the most important things to me and then to create something that is visually appealing, simple and inspiring.  I’m also a big believer in honouring the cycles or seasons of nature so a 12-week tool or a 90-day programme is short and sharp enough to create the right focus and still be fluid enough to adjust in the bigger scheme of things.

Things Change

Life happens, and things can change in a minute.  I’d just finished work and was driving home when the unexpected happened.  I missed 2 phone calls, the 3rd came just as I was walking in the front door.  It was the news that my daughter was involved in a serious car accident and was in an ambulance on her way to hospital.  Whilst I heard the words and calmly took it all in, there was still that surreal sense of having to synthesize what I had just heard.  That moment of dis-belief – is this really happening?

When I hung up, I looked at the missed calls – the 2nd one was my daughter and the 1st one was from an un-identified number which I realised now would be the Ambulance staff.

My mind raced.  In the moment, it was simply to do the most important thing right now.  First, I had to call her of course (thinking that the fact that she had called me was a good sign) and I knew I would know the severity of the accident by the sound in her voice.  What I call a mother’s instinct.  Yes, a sign of relief – she was OK with possibly minor physical injuries although a likely head injury.  ‘Lucky’ she said.  The car was a write off.

I looked at the clock – it was 5 minutes before 4pm so I changed out of my work clothes, grabbed my bag and walked out of the house to catch the next ferry at 4.30pm.  Nothing else mattered.  My mind was blank.

Time stood still.  Even the 8 hours in the Emergency Department floated by as we waited and watched the night unfold with its many emergencies.  A moment where life is put into perspective – things can and do change in a heartbeat.  What really matters?  What really matters most?

I reminisced.  When I was my daughters age, my first job was working as a radiographer in Auckland Hospital.  I was immersed in both life and death through the nature of my role; many a time spent in Emergency Departments and critical care seeing the colours of life through the people I served, cared for and worked with.

I had a lot to be grateful for.

It reminded me of the preciousness of life and the importance of making sure you are focussed on what’s truly important – your big rocks.

Life is to be savoured, experienced and enjoyed.

Time may be short.

Say ‘no’ to what has served its purpose, let go of the past, be in this moment and appreciate it for what it is.

Have compassion for yourself and others.

Complete what is incomplete.

Put right what needs to be put right.

Live without regrets.

Master the lesson.

Embrace growth.

Set new goals.


Have fun.

Most importantly, focus on what matters – your Most Important Things.


With love,



Joanne Hutchinson

Founder Great Spirit NZ Ltd

‘I help people like you lead confidently, live courageously and communicate from the heart.  Be a force / voice for good.

e.   jo@greatspirit.co.nz

m. 027 414 4291

w. greatspirit.co.nz / joannehutchinson.nz

Personal Coaching and Mentoring on Demand in Skype over the Holidays – if you need clarity, insight or help, please contact me.  January 2018 special 1 hour $144 inc GST.

Step into a Greater Purpose in 2018

I’m looking for 8 inspired ‘Girls on Fire’ who’d love to be part of a Women’s’ Leadership Circle that empowers creating positive change, stepping into a bigger purpose and supporting each other.  Starting in February 2018, we’ll meet monthly for 2 hours.  We’ll be focussing on the big things where you’ll also get practical tools to support your growth and we’ll be celebrating our successes along the way.  Email me for more information jo@joannehutchinson.nz

Need inspiration, follow me on Instagram #johutchinson