building your plan. Pretending is just going to get you halfway into your journey with no actual destination or means by which to get there. It’s the individuals who have come to grips with their strengths and weaknesses that have found the secret to success.

The intent should be to create a life inclusive of work, love, play, and relaxation that can promote balance for you in the long term.

Step 2: Recognize your WHY. History should show us who we are in a nut shell, right? Yes and no. Knowing why we do things is just as important as knowing we do them. In this quest for self awareness, we will unearth some major realizations that aren't always comfortable. Why is it that we do the things we do and what happened in our past to solidify our resolve? 9 out of 10 times behaviors we’ve adopted were born from failures or struggles we’ve experienced. We need to give credence to those experiences and look to change our perspective to appreciate everything that has made us who we are. If failed attempts and struggle can create positive habitual behavior that will ultimately give me the work life balance I’m searching for, then bring it on. I’m not interested in just weathering the storm… I’d rather dance in the rain. More on that in just a second.

Step 3: Develop Habits. There’s just something about world class performers. They seem to do things that are unbelievable over and over again. A comedian with perfect timing, a singer that evokes emotion at will, a football player

that always finds a way thru the entire defensive line, or an investment guru that seems to have his money in the right place at the right time no matter what market conditions arise. Performers perform, that’s just what they do and they all do it the same way. They have HABITS. It’s that simple. When something is a habit it becomes simple and monotonous. Top performers develop habits that over time create a result that is positively unimaginable.

Conversely, bad habits create negative results of the same magnitude. Let’s use the habit of cigarette smoking. There are 20 cigarettes in a pack and it’s not uncommon to hear a smoker say they smoke a pack a day. That’s a pretty bad habit that can literally turn healthy cells cancerous. I would say that’s an unimaginable. Let’s think about how difficult it may be to do any other thing at all 20 times a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year every year. Anything at all… I’ll wait. Drink 20 bottles of water a day or eat 20 cookies a day. How about something more timely, wash your hands 20 times a day. Even that seems unrealistic. Now assume you can develop habits that allow you to improve your body, mind, spirit, and maybe even bank account consistently every day for the rest of your life. Imagine what you could accomplish. Habitual behaviors drive results.

Step 4: Proper Perspective. The final step is more of a ‘check yourself before you wreck yourself’ type of step. Perspective is a hell of a thing. I think we saw what drastically differing viewpoints look like during this last election. Going back to what I said earlier,

while most people try to find ways to weather the storm of work, family issues, or financial struggles, there are those few that look to face challenges head on in order to learn and grow. They choose to dance in the rain. It's the same storm either way however, perspective will change the outcome every time.

Consistently refocusing on your long term goal instead of wallowing in your current scenario should reinfuse you with the drive to push further. Making sure you are readjusting course and your attitude constantly is a major part of positive progress.

Ultimately, this journey is yours and yours alone. You'll be traveling for a while with yourself, so make certain you like your traveling partner. Self exploration exposes a lot of things you may be uncomfortable with at first. Just remember everyone has their own shortcomings. In a world full of social media pretending, Instagram filters, and carefully captured best life moments, try not to fall into the trap of pretending. There's real work to be done and huge progress to be made. Let's get excited about that and start designing. It's your life, you get to design it any way you like.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ryan Fleming is Director of Habitational Sales with JGS Insurance. Ryan offers an understanding and a refreshing change of perspective. His years of experience in the insurance industry has allowed him to understand business from many different angles and in turn, provide solutions to improve productivity.

Ryan has been speaking for almost 10 years on various topics, focusing mainly on improving, staff mindsets, industry understanding and controlling loss. He believes that educating is the best way to put the control in his client's hands as opposed to leaving them under the control of the insurance industry. Mr. Fleming can be contacted via email at: 31

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