While driving to work today after my 5am swim, I began thinking about what my priorities are.  Many people would say health, then wealth. My priority list is more detailed; as I lead a very busy life, failure to prioritize would hurt more than just me!
My priority list:
1. Family/close friends
2. Health/training
3. Wealth/business
4. Work
 
Many of these priorities overlap each other, but remembering what is most important will guide decisions in all areas.  This decision-making “tree” became readily apparent when sitting at the Ironman Lake Placid race in July 2014, when my wife and I were discussing the future and her displeasure with her job.  It was while sitting on the hill alongside Mirror Lake that I suggested she quit her job as a trauma surgeon and stay at home with our kids (who were essentially being raised by an Au Pair).  Leaving her full-time job would also allow her to train for IMLP 2015, which would have been extremely difficult while working 80+ hours a week.  This decision meant I would become the “bread winner” for the house, and a significant decrease in annual income--but family and health are more important than money!!!
 
Family is #1 in my book, which leads me to wake at 4am on most days so as to not take away from family time. This also allows me to attend whatever sporting event the children have that day…swimming or wrestling, soccer or football.  Family, for me, includes my close friends, as they are the support structure that encourages us to be better at our sports.  My “family” also participates as a team in events throughout the year…we have done Tough Mudders together, the Civilian Military Combine and in April we will be completing a Go Ruck in Washington, DC.  Please do not tell my Triathlon coach, as he may kill me for doing these riskier races ☺.  This family encourages each other in many ways, as teamwork drives other to succeed, as well as introduces a fear of failure.  Failing in an event like this is not only personally disappointing, but disappointing to the entire team! Last year after the NJ Marathon, I was having IT band issues, which hampered me during the Civilian Military Combine, resulting in slower than anticipated times…I felt like I let the team down! 
 
If you are reading this then you know the value of health and training…or you are just bored and couldn’t find anything else to read ☺. Training for triathlons, marathons or any other sport requires time, which impinges on #1--Family.  There are times when I feel bad for our kids, when Stancie and I get on the trainer for hours, leaving them with nothing to do.  That is why I try to get up early and knock out the workout before they even wake up.  Others choose late night workouts, after kids have gone to bed…whatever works, do it!
 
Behind family and health comes wealth/business and work. Many people put money above all, and I used to be that way, but have now changed my outlook on life.  Having enough to meet our basic needs, and allow for “play time”–vacation, race entry fees, equipment--is now the goal.  Don’t get me wrong, there are times when our business effects the kids: Saturdays spent sitting at our booth may not be the ideal day for the kids, but growing the business will hopefully give us the opportunity to quit our “real” jobs.  This in turn will allow us to work for ourselves, and encourage family involvement.  My daughter loves coming to the events with us and “working the register”, but our son does not have the patience to sit and wait! 
 
I would love to know how other triathletes prioritize and make time for the important things…Let me know about your strategies and struggles in the comments!!!