A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Ziglar’s Wheel of Life

How many times have I referenced the Wheel, and yet I’ve never really explained it or why I value it so much.*
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Ziglar’s Wheel reminds us of the importance of leading a balanced life. Seven categories, all valuable and all needing a portion of our attention. You can’t spend too much of your time in just one area without repercussions. Ignore any one category entirely, and be prepared to suffer loss well beyond it.

Think of each area of the Wheel as the sides of a container – like a barrel or a cistern – that you’re trying to fill. You’re going to find capacity limited to the height of the side that you’ve built up the least. And if you spend no time building up any one category, you won’t be able to fill it at all, no matter how tall the remaining sides are.

Now, at the risk of sacrificing that analogy, I do have one criticism of the Wheel. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great tool, and you would do well to implement it just as it is. When I’m setting up goals for the future (whether it’s for one year, five years or thirty years) I always use the Wheel as my primary structure. But there’s a danger inherent to it’s design that requires me to make one change when I think about it:

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Everything is spiritual. Being spiritual isn’t something that can be contained within four poorly drawn boundaries. And it’s true that each category can overlap with the others here and there, but, if you dig down, being spiritual actually encompasses every category.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

– Colossians 3:17

  • Career – When we are working, the products and services we produce are serving other people, even when a profit is earned. Being diligent and honest and glad in our work is pleasing to God. Finding and pursuing the career that best suits you is a spiritual endeavor. (Proverbs 22:6)
  • Financial – The money we have been given throughout our lives, no matter amount or the source, is a responsibility for us to manage and improve. Being financially responsible to our families and the future is spiritual. (Matthew 25:14-30)
  • Social – Other people are in our lives to give us opportunities to serve one another. To be generous. To challenge one another and grow together. Becoming amicable, and having a growing circle of friends is spiritual. (Proverbs 18:1)
  • Intellectual – Becoming wise doesn’t come from being anti-intellectual. We should be constantly learning. We shouldn’t fear math, or science, or literature, or art, or history. Just like money, our mind is a resource to manage and grow. Seeking wisdom and knowledge is spiritual. (Proverbs 18:15)
  • Physical – And our body is a resource we’ve been given to manage, too. Being physically strong and healthy is spiritual (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  • Family – Is your spouse a healthier, better, holier person because of your marriage? Are you serving them? What about your kids? Do you know why they’re in your life? Being a responsible parent, and fulfilling your role in marriage is spiritual. (Ephesians 5:33)

Of course, that doesn’t mean we can neglect spiritual things and just build up each of those other categories. We have to spend a equal amount of time focused strictly on the spiritual in our lives. We need to make some goals around growing spiritually. It can help, though, if we teach ourselves the right approach to each of the other areas of our life, so they can accentuate that growth.

So, go build your life. Be honest about which categories could use some work, and set some goals to improve them. Gain some balance and become a fuller person. And remember that it’s all a part of loving God.

* No, really. How many times have I mentioned it and linked to it? Go find out and post it in the comments.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | Christ and Church, Marriage and Family, Past and Future, Work and Money | , , , , | 3 Comments

Quick Hits: Girl Scout debt badge. Robert Kearns wasted his life. Procrastinatrix wanted.

  • Cookies taste better with debtI love being a Daddy. I’ve got three kids, and they’re great. They’re also a huge responsibility. There are so many things they have to be taught before they become a fully grown adult that can be released into the world. They need to know how to succeed in all the areas of their life. It’s tempting to offload your parental responsibilities to other authorities, like teachers and pastors, but don’t do it. For example, financial education, if it happens at all, is coming from some of the worst sources. Practical Money Skills sounds like a good thing, until you notice that it’s distributed by Visa and includes lessons like “Financing Your Education” and “Why Credit Matters.” Even the Girl Scouts have gotten into the act by giving the girls a chance to earn their Good Credit Badge as a part of their cookie sales. Don’t let your kids grow up to believe that debt is OK, because it’s not.
  • If you are a creator, maker, or artist, you might be worried about what it takes to protect your IP. It’s a valid concern, but I would ask that you first heed the warning of the life of Robert Kearns. It’s a cautionary tale for us all, because it’s easy to lose focus when we feel we’ve been wronged. But our crusade can quickly squeeze out the resources we have to grow and produce. Remember that your first order is to bring your creations and beauty into the world. It’s how you serve your fellow man, and how you fulfill your purpose. Don’t waste that.
  • There are days when just staying on schedule and finishing everything that needs to be finished is a struggle. Apparently, I need a procastinatrix. I’d better be careful when I’m interviewing someone to fill that role, though.

March 19, 2013 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Respect

If you didn’t already know, I take Karate lessons two or three times per week. My wife and children take lessons as well, so it’s a great way for me to stay physically active while spending time with them. Also, I get to learn a new skill, meet new people and build new friendships. That’s like four areas of Ziglar’s Wheel of Life all at once. Look at me, being all efficient.

Last weekend, I pre-tested for my next belt rank. I’ve proven a basic understanding of the physical techniques necessary to progress. Before I can receive my new belt at next week’s test, though, I have to complete a written test. Part of that is a half page essay on a subject determined by the rank I am advancing to. For the next belt, the subject is ‘Respect.’

And I also committed myself to writing a new blog post every week. Guess what I’m doing. That’s right. Being all efficient again.

Respect (v) – to hold in esteem or honor; to show regard or consideration for.

As with many aspects of good behavior, we’d like to have a codified list of what it looks like to show respect. If we could quickly flip through a checklist, marking off the dos and the don’ts, we would know whether or not we were actually being sufficiently respectful. That’d be awesome.

It would also be wrong.

The problem is that our behavior isn’t the quantum of our external actions. It is the expression of our internal values. That is to say: We are truly only respectful of things we know to be important at our core. We respect what we value.

And we need to start with ourselves. Allow me to quote a great philosopher:

Respect your efforts, respect yourself.  Self-respect leads to self-discipline.  When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.

– Clint Eastwood

I am important. My life is important. That might sound like pride, but it isn’t. I’m not saying I’m perfect, or even good. However, I still get the privilege of breathing for another day, so I still have something to do. That’s true of you, too.

So, in each area of our lives, we have to consider the implications of our choices. What does this or that action say about how important we believe ourselves to be? If we can’t accept that each day we exist has value, then we won’t ever have the proper respect for what we have been given.

And that makes it hard to respect others.

Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.

– Albert Einstein

It’s hard because when we deny ourselves of respect, we can and will use the same rationalizations to deny others of it, too. See, if I’m not important, then you certainly aren’t. Respect becomes a commodity that has to be earned.

Worse, if and when we find a person who we think earns our respect, we’ll raise them over us. We’ll overvalue their existence. We risk idolizing them, and giving them more authority than they can manage. They’re doomed to fall from such a perch, because they aren’t actually perfect either.

Respecting ourselves first gives us proper perspective on respecting others. It helps us to value our relationships as responsibilities we’re given to honor. It leads us to be more gracious to others when they stumble and need help to stand. It guides us to guard our lives with more care when we are considering who we associate with, and how much authority to give them.

We respect what we value.

Once we get that, we realize that we don’t need anyone to give us a checklist. The list we want will write itself.

March 12, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Changing For the Better Isn’t D.I.Y.

I can be pretty hard on myself.

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I like to use Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life as a reference for how to divide up the key areas of life. It helps to cement the need for balance in the way that I live. While I’ve been kicking butt in a couple of those key areas lately, it wouldn’t take a lot of effort for me to list one or more ways that I should improve in all of them.

There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself to improve, but many of us get the idea in our heads that attempting to make a positive change is a private matter. We tell ourselves that the only way a change is valid is if we can do it alone. That’s foolishness, and it often leads to isolation and frustration, because true change doesn’t work that way.

Real improvement comes when we surround ourselves and put our trust in others who are pointed in the same direction that we want to go.

It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.

– Warren Buffett

Whatever your current goal is, you need to be spending time with, and seeking the counsel of, two groups of people. Those who are passionately working towards a similar goal, and those who have achieved it. Associating with others who share your struggle allows you to hear voices of experience, and learn from their wisdom. It introduces accountability to your efforts, and motivates you. You gain focus and fellowship.

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Ben Franklin understood the power of a group. He pulled twelve of his friends together to create “a club of mutual improvement,” which they called the Junto, when he was only twenty-one years old. They met for more than forty years, guided by a set of discussion questions, exploring the myriad topics of the day. Franklin became the Founding Father we know today because of the investment he made with that small group of men.

You and I have to stop thinking that self-improvement is a do-it-yourself project. If we really want to improve, we need experts to tell us how to get where we want to be, and extra sets of hands for the heavy lifting. We need to build a trusted community around us that will challenge us to grow.

I’m challenged to start formally putting together a mastermind group like Franklin’s Junto. I’m already involved with an accountability group, but I’m thinking about grabbing Dan Miller’s 1+1=3 as a guide to assembling people who are interested in growing in all the key areas of their life. What do you think? Any suggestions?

March 5, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future, Work and Money | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Changing For the Better Isn’t D.I.Y.