Being The B.E.S.T.

My greatest reward in writing The Financial Crossroads has been the opportunity to work with and learn from my co-author, Jim Stovall.  With no disrespect intended to Jim’s colleagues on the speaking circuit, Jim is one of the only “motivational speakers” who has caught my ear.  That is especially because he’s not one who has made a career out of mere celebrity and motivating slogans.  Jim’s never stopped doing the things that made him one of the nation’s great success stories.  He continues to write books of varying genres at a pace unknown in the publishing realm and he runs the Narrative Television Network.  In short, Jim’s not cashing in on some former success; he’s living out his success story and sharing it with us along the way.  So it is with great pleasure that I feature a guest blog post from Jim for this week:

Being the B.E.S.T.

by Jim Stovall

Stovall-JimIn our society, we revere those who are the best at what they do. Chants of “We’re #1” are heard frequently. You will never hear, “We’re #2,” or “We’re not great, but we’re better than we were last year.” If we want to be the BEST at whatever we do, we’ve got to break it down into its individual components.

“B” is for Balance. It is the element that keeps our lives stable. We’ve all heard about superstar athletes, multi-millionaires, and movie stars who wreck their health or family relationships in their quest for greatness. No matter how much we achieve in one area of our life, if we lose the overall perspective that we are many-faceted beings, we can never be successful.

If we want to have balance in our lives, we are going to have to be proactive. Most of us plan our workday. We have things we are going to try to do, things we really need to do, and the ever-present list of “things we better do today, or there will be no tomorrow!” But how many of us really plan—with the same degree of diligence—our family time, recreation time, exercise, etc?

Several years ago, my wife Crystal and I began a tradition. We take the week between Christmas and New Year and focus on the things we have done in the previous twelve months and those we hope to do in the twelve months to come. We plan our leisure time and focus on where we are in each area of our lives. While I have certainly not reached the levels I want to in every area of my life, this practice has brought a degree of balance to me that I had never known before.  Most of us spend all of our time, effort, and energy on professional and business pursuits, and the other areas of our lives get whatever is left over or—in too many cases—they get shoved completely aside.

Balance means investing in yourself in every area of your life.

“E” is for Enthusiasm. This is the first thing we receive when we enter this world as the doctor slaps us on the backside, and the last thing we give up before they close the coffin lid. I have had the privilege of interviewing superstars from the worlds of entertainment, sports, and politics. The one thing that each of these individuals has in common is a tremendous passion or enthusiasm for what they do. If you don’t feel that kind of daily passion, as you pursue your life goals, you need to either get a new career or a new attitude about the career you currently have.

I remember interviewing Katharine Hepburn. When I asked her what she would have done with her life had she not pursued show business, she replied, “If they did not pay me to be an actress, I would have to find another way to support my acting habit. I have an innate need to do what I do.” 

This type of enthusiasm will bring you an Academy Award or whatever is the highest honor in your field.

“S” is for Single-mindedness. This is the ability to focus on one thing at a time. This does not mean we are one-dimensional in our lives. It simply means, when we are working, we work; when we are playing, we play; and any other task we choose to undertake receives our total attention and focus.

We spend far too much time living in the past, worrying about things that cannot be changed or living in the future, planning for eventualities that may never come. If we will live in the moment, we will find that mistakes of the past and frets of the future simply fade away.

If something is worth investing your time in right now, it deserves all of your attention.

“T” is for Tenacity. This is the one element that will always result in eventual success. As a blind person myself, I could hit a baseball thrown by the best pitcher in the major league if you would let me keep trying until I succeed. The immortal message from Winston Churchill echoes down through the years, “Never, never, never, never, never give in.”

The whole world belongs to the man or woman who realizes that the game is not over until you quit; and when it comes to your dreams and goals, remember that it is always too soon to quit.

Jim Stovall