I just returned from a fly fishing trip to Montana and feel totally refreshed and ready to take on the 4th quarter of 2019. My trip to this marvelous place always replenishes my mind and spirit as the solitude of the streams and wilderness, as well as the absence of human interaction, allows me to clear my head, reevaluate and reset my priorities.
Fly fishing has become a metaphor for my life as it has taught me many virtues that have helped me develop as a person. I have learned patience, as you cannot rush the fish. I have learned humility, as losing a big fish because it outsmarted me put me in my place. I have learned the value of solitude, as it gave me time to get in touch with my deeper thoughts. I have learned a healthy respect for nature and the need to protect it from man. Lastly, I have learned an appreciation for a power far greater than me because I cannot look around a trout stream without seeing God's handiwork.
Henry David Thoreau, one of my favorite authors wrote, "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it's not the fish they're after." This quote has been the subliminal driving force that has fed my passion for the sport. Something curious happened to my business as my participation in the sport evolved; it prospered as I continuously fed it with new, creative thoughts that energized it upon my return from each trip. Since I could make direct link to these trips and the growth of my business, I always ask myself this question when I return, "Why don't I give myself permission to go more frequently?"
The answer to that question is clear, I have a disease most entrepreneurs suffer from, as I always say YES when confronted with executing behavior that will impact the growth of my business, regardless of the way it affects my personal life. If I have a chance to close a new piece of business, I always say YES, and when a client asks me to train, coach or consult, I always say YES. These YESES make my business stronger but rob me of the balance necessary for me to become a well-rounded human being. I had to learn to say a calculated NO and understand that it is not a sign that I care less about my business, rather used judiciously, it helps create a realistic pace for my life. My continuously saying YES to all requests elevated my level of stress and created a significant imbalance in my personal life. I spent a lot of time thinking about this on my recent trip and here are 3 of the many lessons I brought back:
1. At the beginning of each quarter, I commit one week to focus for self-development and actually book the days, so I am not tempted to use them for business. These days will be spent doing the things that replenish my energy, creativity and nourish my being.
2. Each weekday, I commit to working on Bartlett's Rule of 3 and 2. That is, 3 professional goals to strengthen my business and 2 personal goals to help me nourish my being. I will journal each day and read the journal every 20 days to celebrate my successes and failures.
3. Each week, I commit to searching out ways to help others in need by performing random acts of kindness. Since I will never be able to plan who I will help, I must keep my antenna up to tune in to the needs of others.
While I was away, I heard a song by Tim McGraw titled "Live Like You Were Dying" written in 2004 and it made me examine my life and my perception of time, as well as the importance of making time for the meaningful personal moments I would normally delay. I encourage you to focus on balance now since our lives are finite and we are not promised a tomorrow! Go conquer your worlds!
• Bill Bartlett owns Corporate Strategies, A Sandler Training Center. email@example.com. Text "salestip" to 35893 to receive Bill's biweekly newsletter.