Hyrum Smith’s teachings have had a profound impact on the way I prioritize my life. As a young professional, I recall listening to an audio tape on how to effectively use the Franklin Planner time management system. Hyrum, then the founder of the Franklin Institute, was a charismatic speaker who was passionate about helping people connect their most important values to their work life. Later, he teamed up with Stephan Covey to bring the idea of “what matters most” to business professionals across the world as part of Franklin Covey’s senior management team.
I can clearly recall listening to Hyrum on that audio tape ask his listeners, “What would you cross the I-Beam for?” It’s one of his trademark questions and the power of that question resonates with me today.
It’s funny how life comes full circle. Nearly 30 years after I first experienced the powerful concepts of values-based time management, I interviewed Hyrum for his new book, The 3 Gaps: Are You Making a Difference? Smith—and to a larger extent, Covey—have thoroughly covered the intersection of values, priorities and time management in classics such as 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Managementand First Things First. Hyrum is now co-founder of 3 Gaps , an international consulting organization. “The 3 Gaps” takes three of Hyrum’s familiar personal effectiveness concepts and views them through a slightly different lens—to help people achieve what Smith calls “inner peace.”
The book is less ground-breaking than it is reaffirming; classic concepts stand the test of time because they work. There’s also a simplicity to the ideas offered by Hyrum that will appeal to the hectic lives of business professionals. According to the 3 Gaps website, there will be forthcoming books that take a “deeper dive” into the three gaps. So consider this first book the overview.
When I interviewed Hyrum, I was curious: why did he want to publish a new book when he’d already written (and spoken) extensively on the topic? He told me that although he’s been teaching these concepts for many years, it wasn’t until recently that a colleague told him:
“You know all of this stuff that you have been teaching for the last 40 years can all be wrapped up into one simple idea.” Well, I didn’t know if I should be offended by that, but I asked, “What’s that?” And my colleague went on to say, “It’s closing gaps.” I have been talking about the three gaps separately but never really put them together into one simple idea. So we wrote the book of the 3 Gaps.
The three “gaps” as Hyrum describes them are:
The Belief Gap: The question here is, is there a gap between what I believe is true and what is actually true? Whenever there are gaps, we are in pain. So if I believe that gravity doesn’t work, I’m going to hurt myself. Because whether I believe gravity works or not is irrelevant. I’ve got to bring my belief system in line with reality.
The Values Gap: is there a gap between what I am doing and what matters most to me? For example, if I value being physically fit, but I weigh 400 pounds, there is a gap. And I’m going to be in pain.
The Time Gap: is there a gap between what I did today and what I said I’d do today? It’s not rocket science how to do that, but there is a very simple thing that I can do to close that gap.
“The 3 Gaps” is a very succinct, easy-to-read book. It clocks in at less than 100 pages, so readers will easily be able to read it in one sitting. In addition to Hyrum’s introduction to the three concepts, there are also three compelling case studies that highlight how three different people closed each of the gaps for themselves.
For people with a deep understanding of beliefs, values and personal productivity methods, this book will simply be a review. But for those who are at the beginning of their personal journey into connecting how to make a difference with their work life (as I was those many years ago), this book is a great place to start.
Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book for the purposes of writing this review. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you click the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. Even though I write about topics and services that I think will benefit my readers, this post is not a specific endorsement of the products and services listed. I encourage you to make your own decisions (purchasing and otherwise) based on research you conduct.