I heard Stephen Covey speak at the Wal-Mart headquarters in 1992 shortly after his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, became popular. I was new to the for-profit business sector, so I paid close attention. He made it very clear how important it is to begin with the end in mind. He asked us to write a clear vision for how we want our lives to turn out when we are 75 years old. Let me share with you a brief vignette of my personal vision:
My wife and I are sitting on the front porch of our home, which overlooks a body of water. Just off the porch are all our kids, grandkids and possibly great grandchildren. The kids speak up and say, “Come on Papa, let’s go play!” So, I jump up off the porch and run with them to play.
Before you read on, let me ask you, what are the implications you see in this brief vignette?
- My wife and I are still married. We are on year 43 now, but 75 years old is still a ways off, so I plan to keep on nurturing my marriage so she will still be there, and be happy several years from now.
- We have a home overlooking a body of water. When I wrote this, I had no idea how that could ever be a reality. But I did know that if it were ever going to be possible I was going to have to be financially responsible, live on less than I make, stay out of debt, and make wise financial decisions.
- I am surrounded by family. I didn’t grow up in a family where that was a pleasant experience, so I knew how important it would be to nurture relationships with my three children, if for no other reason, than so they would bring the grandchildren around, which, by the way, are as much fun as everyone says. Though they live from here in Arkansas, to Colorado, to Uganda, we stay involved in their lives, share common interests and work hard make our home an inviting place to them and their new families.
- When the kids ask me to come go play, I jump up and go. I don’t know about you, but I know a lot of 75 year old’s who could never do that. So, as much as it depends on me, I intend to be ready and able to do this as frequently as they ask. So, what do I do? I eat right. I exercise 3 to 4 days each week. We began this years ago as a family and now have a Wall of Pain in our house that depicts all kinds of running races, bike races and triathlons, including my son’s five ironman races. The entire family has several pictures on the wall, including the in-laws who have joined the fun. I actually think they believed it was a prerequisite to entry.
My full vision includes physical fitness, relational fitness, mental fitness, nutritional fitness, financial fitness, and social fitness. Each of these take disciplined focus. I don’t let up on them. It seems like I am hearing of more and more friends and associates who are missing out on so much of life, health, and joy because they don’t or didn’t have a clear vision, and the right motivation to keep them focused on the disciplines to do all they could to ensure their vision became a reality. So my encouragement to you, is to clarify your vision, and GET FIT in all the areas of life that are important to you.