Two qualities unique to the human race can either drive us to reach our full potential or drive us into a rut:
- Clothes – Good and bad. We have the ability to make a conscious decision to both develop and break them.
- reasonable – The ability to support the decisions we make with self-justified reasoning, whether productive or not.
In more than 40 years of coaching financial advisors, I have seen more of these two qualities in action than I can tell. I have seen financial advisors who were goal-oriented but whose business success came at the cost of their family. I have also seen to the contrary, financial advisors are using family to justify a lack of professional focus. As with many things, balance is key, and perfection is not the goal. I want to use this as a starting point to reflect on and address an old question:
“Am I making the most of my life?”
Psychologists claim that the more active we are, the happier we are. Additionally, the more balanced our lives are, the more likely we are to be constantly active.
Through this lens, I offer the following self-assessment to help determine where you are and where you want to be. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “not true” and 5 “always true.”
- I spend enough quality time with my family
- I am able to share intimately with my spouse or significant other
- I communicate effectively with friends, family and coworkers
- i believe in something bigger than myself
- My actions are in line with my personal values and beliefs
- i love my work
- My work is tailored to my needs and strengths
- I am disciplined and hardworking
- I engage in regular physical activity, at least three times per week
- I eat a healthy, balanced diet
- I take the time to read and learn
- I am actively involved in my community
- I engage in small acts of kindness
- I respect lifestyles and cultures different from my own
- I listen and show sympathy
My mother-in-law caught a piece of stitches and hung it in her kitchen that read, “The little things matter a lot.” When I first read this as a young man, I am ashamed to say, I cracked a joke about it. The dazzle I got from my wife was so deserved and reflected in me.
Now I think it is the key to personal and professional success. The decisions we make, even the tiniest, matter a lot over the course of a day, a week, and a year. How do your actions reflect your values?
I thought it would be appropriate that I leave you with my favorite poem from one of my favorite childhood writers…
that man (female) is a success who has lived well, laughs often and is loved a lot;
One who has gained the respect of wise men (women) and the love of children; one who has filled his (his) place and completed his work;
He who leaves the world a better place than he (he) found it, whether from better opium, a perfect poem or less clay;
who never lacked appreciation for the beauty of the earth or failed to express it; One who looked for the best in others and gave his (her) best.
Have a nice day, and let us all try to inculcate the habit of looking for the best in others and giving the best of what we have. Now that’s something to rationalize. encourage.