Sunday, November 29, 2009

What Do You Want Your Life to Look Like? - Guest Post by Bob Cox

During my early business career, I was a terrific insurance salesman. Every year, I would sell more and more. Every year, I would accumulate more and more. Every year, I would send my wife, Karin, and her mother on fabulous trips I won by exceeding sales goals.

Karin and Doe went to Lake Tahoe, Hawaii, California's wine country, and other great destinations. Karin would return with pictures, gifts, and souvenirs. Doe would always send notes of appreciation and thanks.

I thought all was well.

I was wrong!

Karin would come home and say, "Bob, I wish you could have been there." I didn't realize that this was a hint that I should have been there.

Let me explain...

There are times when doing too much inhibits your success. Coming from me -- a proponent of constantly taking action to achieve your goals -- that may surprise you. But what I mean by it is that taking too much action in only one area upsets the balance of your whole life!

It was about 10 years ago that I woke up one day and said to myself, "Something is wrong with this picture (my life)." Sure, I had lots of financial success. And, thanks to Karin, a good marriage (in my mind, that is). So why wasn't I feeling satisfied?

I mean, who wouldn't want a beautiful home, nice cars, fancy clothes, good health, a great income -- and the ability to send their spouse (and her mother) on extravagant vacations?

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn't happy.

I had to ask myself the hard question: "Whose fault is that, Bob?" And guess what my answer was? I couldn't avoid the obvious... it was MINE!

I had expended so much time and energy in pursuit of financial stability that even when I achieved my financial goal, I kept on going.

My work was driven by results: Make the sale, add more clients, expand the business... all with the goal of increasing revenue. The more I did it, the better I became, which reinforced a natural inclination to continue.

I was like one of those hamsters that can't stop running on the spinning wheels in their cages.

So right then and here, I created an action plan to stop spinning my wheel.

I had gotten so caught up in my financial goals that my life simply had no balance. It was all discipline (work pursuits) and no enjoyment (fun pursuits) or compassion (considering other people's needs).

I'd often be asked to go play a round of golf (should be a fun pursuit) and would politely decline. After all, that would mean I would be out of the office most of the day. How could I even consider such a thing? And don't even ask me to go on vacation. That definitely wasn't going to happen.

It was clear that I had to refocus some of my time, energy, and talents.

Easier said then done. What you do to achieve success in one area of your life doesn't necessarily translate to the other important areas of your life. Being a star athlete, brilliant entrepreneur, or wonderful parent is fantastic. The danger lies in becoming addicted to the "rush" of fame, wealth, or applause. Little room is left to nurture the other facets of YOU.

However, as with every success technique... a little practice makes all the difference.

At the top of my new life action plan was to ask Karin where she would like to go for a vacation. When I did, she looked surprised and asked, "You mean with you, Bob?"

You guessed it... during my epiphany, I finally took into consideration ways I could spend more time with Karin doing what she wanted to do.

Off we went for two weeks in Las Vegas.

I also took up golf in earnest. And though I am not very good at it, it gives me an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and the camaraderie of others.

I learned to fly an airplane (a boyhood dream), which gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment that far surpasses any of the successes I achieved in business.

And I continue to spend more time with Karin -- doing things she wants to do.

Okay. Your turn.

I propose that you make a conscious and deliberate decision to do what I did. Assess where you are now and how your life looks to you. Pay attention to the hints your loved ones offer.

If you find, as I did, that your life is unbalanced, figure out what you have to do to "fan the flames of success" in the areas you've been ignoring.

It might mean signing up for that foreign language course you've been wanting to take... scheduling that cruise your spouse has been talking about... or noting your children's soccer games in your weekly planner -- and making the commitment to be there.

When you begin assigning things like these the priority they deserve -- and experience the joy they bring -- it will reinforce your willingness to keep making life-balancing decisions.

List three life-balancing actions that you can take TODAY:

1. _________________________________

2. _________________________________

3. _________________________________

And make doing this a "must do" part of your weekly schedule.

P.S. Achieving balance while still achieving your most valued goals is just one of the factors that make you truly successful and your life worth living. In my program, The Billionaire in You, I give you dozens of strategies to help you get all you want out of life. Find out more about it here.

This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, an e-zine dedicated to making money, improving your health and quality of life. For a complimentary subscription, visit


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