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Learning To Balance

I knew I was going to crash. I was on a new 10-speed bicycle heading into a curve when I willed myself to fall off the bike.

I was already nervous because I was on a bicycle way too tall for a 12-year-old. In those days, you graduated from a banana-seat, Schwinn wannabe with streamers flapping from the high handlebars to something that was meant for the Tour de France. The bike seemed designed to get the rider’s posterior high enough to propel it over the rider’s head as soon as the dime-wide wheel hit a hole.

Of course, that’s what happened on that afternoon. I saw the curve and thought that would be a likely place to crash, allowing me to see the arc of my trajectory play out in my imagination pretty much how it actually occurred.

It took me a few decades more to know that nearly every endeavor was won or lost in my head before it was even ventured. I still learn that every weekend when I think about getting to the gym that week. “Of course I’m doing it,” means I’ll do it; “I’ll fit it in” means I don’t even have to bother setting the alarm for hitting the gym before work.

In this month’s interview with Publisher Paul Feldman, Paul Kingsman tells us that we all need to time-block our days to be successful. But he also says that is a waste of time if we don’t know why we are doing it.

Why do we want to be successful? Seems like a goofy question, especially if we have been on autopilot all our lives, either just heading for the next thing or drifting until we hit something else. That is how we arrive at dissatisfaction: “I don’t know what I wanted, but I know this isn’t it.”

Here is a map based on Kingsman’s advice:

Set The Destination

Kingsman talked about setting a goal of where we want to be in four years. The first question is why we want to be there. If it is still the destination with that answer, then break down the journey.

Set The Course

What do we need to accomplish by next year to get to that point in four years? What needs to happen in the next 90 days? What do we need to do now?

Set Your Days

Kingsman believes we have to time-block our days to achieve our goals. In the interview, he explains how time-blocking helped him win an Olympic medal in swimming.

Set Your Timer

It takes just 25 minutes at a time. Kingsman believes pushing beyond that makes us ineffective. We can probably test that by keeping an eye on when we start picking up our phone or cruising over to the internet. Certainly, studies have shown that it is healthier to get up and move around often during the day.

An important element in Kingsman’s plan is imagination. For this, he asks us to envision ourselves a year from now.

What will we be happy about at this time next year? Kingsman even suggests writing it out by answering key questions.

Imagine it is the end of 2020 and finish these statements.

2020 has been an awesomely successful year because:

  • (Partner’s name) and I …
  • (Children’s names) and I ...
  • Health-wise, I achieved ...
  • Spiritually, I grew through ...
  • In my business, I ...

He specifically put business last because we need balance.

Seeing and inhabiting our success is key. The best way to win is to have already won in our heads. Yes, many a meme and sports legend quote has been made out of that sentiment — that’s because it works.

The same process applies to our main feature this month, technology. That is an overwhelming subject to many people, particularly those of us who were not born into a tech world (“digital native” is actually a thing).

But where do we want to be in four years? For many of us, that is a seriously tough question because if we think we can just do what we have been doing and remain successful, well, check out the Beanie Babies and Betamax market these days.

If we see ourselves in a happy retirement in four years, let’s plan for it now. If we see a thriving business, what does it take to get there? Most likely, it involves getting comfortable with tech. No more paper apps.

The first step is to read the information we have in this magazine. The second is to plan long-term , medium-term and short-term. Third is to realize we will get to our best future one smart step at a time.

What we plant in our heads will grow into reality. When we see the curve ahead, see how we will make it in a smooth arc.

nd as I learned all those years ago, don’t tighten up with you see the bumps coming. Keep it loose and you will glide right over them.

Or fall. But just get back on the dang bike again.

Steven A. Morelli

Steven A. Morelli is editor-in-chief for InsuranceNewsNet. He has more than 25 years of experience as a reporter and editor for newspapers, magazines and insurance periodicals. Steve may be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @INNSteveM. [email protected].

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