Zig Ziglar taught that in order to be truly successful in life, one should be experiencing some level of success and balance in each of 7 key areas of life: Physical, Family, Mental, Financial, Spiritual, Career, and Personal. Mr. Ziglar called it the “Wheel of Life,” and it is what I keep in mind when I’m trying to create healthy habits to keep my life in balance.
With that in mind, here are some habits I employ in each of these areas:
I have a history of going a little overboard with the “healthy physical habits” – for example, weekly fasting or excessive training for athletic competitions, etc. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized it’s actually healthier to strive for sustainable balance in this area, even if it means not being so rigorous. I now take the approach of disciplining myself to make those healthy choices as often as I can, without going overboard.
For me, this includes eating “cleaner” – more whole foods, less processed, etc. I’m exercising, doing what I can a few of times a week and moving as often as I can during the day. Probably the biggest improvement I’ve made is that I’ve come to recognize the importance of getting enough rest. I used to pride myself on how few hours of sleep I would get, thinking that it gave me a competitive edge in business if I stayed up half the night working. That is exactly the opposite of what’s true, and I’m lucky I didn’t do more damage to my health. Now, with a focus on getting enough sleep, I actually see this having more of an impact on my overall physical health than any other habit I implement.
Several years ago I made a huge mental shift when I came to recognize that the most valuable business in the world is not the one I go to every day, but the one I come home to every day. There could not possibly be any work I might do in the outside world that is as critically important as the work I do leading my family. Once I made that shift, everything changed, and I began to prioritize my habits to reflect what’s truly important: connecting with my wife and kids.
So I employ some habits like stepping away from electronics and just leaving my phone on the counter when I’m engaged with family, setting aside 1-on-1 time with my kids to allow space for meaningful conversations and to just have fun together, and being intentional about scheduling time with my wife. One especially effective habit we have is our weekly family meeting, where we plan our week ahead, share wins and struggles from the previous week, etc.
What we consume into our minds is what comes out, so I’ve come to the point where I greatly protect what I allow into my mind. For one thing, I am very selective about what media I consume and I filter it carefully. I listen to podcasts from people I trust and respect. I read books and blog posts that will feed my mind with positive, beneficial content. Zig Ziglar said, “You are what you are and where you are because of what goes into your mind.” I wholeheartedly agree, so I act accordingly.
I’ve had some significant financial success, but I’ve also had some stunning failure and ended up deeply in debt. What’s important is that I learned a valuable life lesson from being on both sides of that equation. When I started focusing less on how much money was in my bank account and measuring success more by doing the right thing, serving others, etc. — financial health followed. I also learned and keep in mind that it takes twice as long to pay off a debt as it does to earn that money when you’re in the black… which for me is a compelling reason to stay out of debt.
It’s important for me to remember to stay grounded, rooted in my faith during both the good times and the bad times. I think the ability to do that comes with years of not necessarily getting it right, and then humbly coming back to God and starting over.
One habit I practice now is that my wife and I spend time each morning with a daily devotional reading and prayer time. If for some reason I get busy and miss that time, I feel it, and I’m “out of sorts” all morning. In fact, I’ve been known to go home at lunchtime just to get out my devotional book and sit down with my wife for that important connection time with God.
In my early career, it seemed that whenever I focused on attempting to advance my personal career goals, I’d always end up falling short and running into some walls. But when I’d embrace the Ziglar philosophy of “You can have everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want,” that’s when I’d find my career would start moving in the right direction again.
When I went from being the leader on the front lines, always delegating, to instead setting my team up for success and empowering them, becoming a more behind-the-scenes leader, I found that I’d be much more successful. Empowering others to be the best they can be, to find the talent inside of them and explode it to out to the world, those are the habits that have allowed me to develop a hard-working, trustworthy, and loyal team.
I know 100% that leading with humility as a servant leader is the key to career success.
Hobbies are fantastic for maintaining balance in life, and I enjoy fishing, golfing, and flying planes… but I’m at the stage in life right now where I live with teenagers who are going to be leaving home soon to pursue their passions and dreams, so when I have that free time to do anything I want to do, what I most desire is to just have quality conversation and time with them, or with my wife or close family and friends.
It’s time well spent, fortifying relationships that mean the most to me and that I want to be sure will endure for my lifetime.