Conventional wisdom talks about “balance” a lot, but often without defining exactly what that means… And while we all want to live balanced lives, it’s tough to get there without understanding what such a life looks like.
It’s going to be different for every person (which makes a true definition of “balance” hard to set in stone), but for most of us, it’s a combination of financial stability, freedom, fulfillment, and progress that lets us enjoy life and work in a way that provides meaning – and doesn’t get bogged down by stress and burnout. The key lesson came just two weeks before my grandmothers death, please listen.
The questionnaire you’ll find in today’s email is all about getting closer to your unique definition of balance. By addressing these essential questions, you’ll start to develop a sense of what you truly want your life to look like, not just today or this year, but well into the future.
The Lifetime Maximizer Process
The purpose of this exercise is help you establish a sense of who you are at the core and toward what you want to aim your actions, choices, and decisions towards today. Essentially we’re going to get down to how you measure success and what orients you.
1. At what age are you going to die? You’ve probably had an idea but haven’t consciously considered it. Pick a number…(most people know when; it’s not about what it is, it’s about what knowing that does to you).
2. Imagine yourself 1 year before then. Now, imagine what you’re going to be doing then. How are you feeling? What are doing? Who are you with? Where are you? Physically are you fit? Mentally are you sharp? Emotionally are you mature? Spiritually are you at peace? What kind of relationships do you have? Financially where are you at?
INSIGHT: Often times people get in a mad rush to get things in place in a year to 3 years, but what about the 10 to 25 year projects that drive your decisions long-term? When you consider when you’re going to die, you begin to remember how much time you really do have on your hands, and think longer term. I call these openings “longings.”
3. Now, with the way you just defined that time, how long do you think you’d live past the time you originally chose? 5 years longer? 10 years? 25 years? What if you choose to live to 150?
4. Ok, I just granted you a 15 year bonus. You have another 15 years to live your life ahead from the day you said you’d have died, as you are the way you described it one year before. Do you realize you just extended your life another 15 years, in a about 30 minutes of time here. Again, what would you do with your time then…how would you organize your life in those extended years? Toward what are you devoting life to? What really orients you? (remember you’re imagining in the state of affairs you described in exercise 2):
It’s interesting that the answers you come up with here often are the way you’ll measure success over your lifetime. (Having an unfinished life is the definition of true failure).
1. Now, when do you want to take delivery of these conditions, when you retire, or now? Let’s intersperse this!
2. How many of these ideal conditions you described do you have now?
3. What restricting forces or roadblocks are keeping you from generating these outcomes today?
4. If you made a list of what you could not live without, what is indispensable to your happiness today, how many of them correlate with the ideal conditions you’ve described?
5. And looking at your list, what do they cost you to acquire?
6. If you had a heart attack tomorrow, and had 2 hours a day available, how would you fill it? Would you pursue the ideal conditions you’ve described?
7. What is your action plan for the next 12 months to begin realizing and merging these conditions into your life? What must be started, stopped, and continued to realize it?
8. What stuff needs to be purged, jettisoned to make space for these new, more meaning components of your life? Make a not-to-do list and abide by it, daily! Focus on the boulders, not the sand pebbles!
Don’t take these questions lightly… They’re big and broad, but will get you to examine who you really are, and get you another step closer to achieving the sense of balance we all desire. Visit our web site to learn how.
If you enjoyed this reflection exercise, please don’t keep our organization a secret! Here’s our Whole Life Planning Workbook!