Diversify Your Life

Sports psychologists tell us that athletes who play one sport experience burnout at much higher rates than athletes who play a variety of sports. The principle is true across the board: no matter how good something is, whether a sport, a career, a relationship, or an investment, it’s diversity in all those areas that makes life richer. 

Are you someone who focuses your life in just a few areas? Or, are your interests varied and your experiences diverse? Here’s a great example of how life diversification can work. Take PGA golfer Brandt Snedecker, who won the 2012 PGA tour championship, and also the Fed Ex Cup, for a whopping $11.4 million purse. It would be easy to assume Brandt’s victory was due to his exponential driving ability and fantastic putting (in this tournament he was number one for both). But that’s only part of the picture.

In an interview, Brandt said he has learned a powerful lesson as he has gotten older: Having balance in his life gives him a better golf game. These days, Brandt says, he doesn’t practice as much as he used to (sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?). He works out in the gym much less. He gives more time to family. The results? A renewed sense of well-being, a better mental state, and, he feels, an overall a better golf game.

How about you? Are you someone who focuses your life in just a few areas? Or, are your interests varied and your experiences diverse? Think of the following important areas of life. Rank them from one to 12 in order of their importance to you:

               1.     Relationships—family and friends

               2.     Marriage and parenting

               3.     Career / school

               4.     Spiritual life

               5.     Entertainment

               6.     Learning

               7.     Physical activity

               8.     Travel and leisure

               9.     Arts and nature

               10.  Hobbies

               11.  Community service/volunteerism

               12.  Down time


Now, consider how you’re allocating your time to these areas. Is it spread out or concentrated in only a few areas? While each person is different, variety will diversify who you are and enrich your life.

This lesson is as true for young people as it is for adults. Excessive pressure to achieve at academics or sports can cause teens to over-allocate their time and energy in those two areas, leaving little time for family, hobbies, and just plain ol’ “down time.” Whether you’re 16 or 60, this is a sure-fire recipe for burnout and it’s becoming increasingly common in the younger generation.


For all of us, making time for family, and for meaningful activities that enrich our life, will reduce our stress and burnout—and may actually help us perform better at the other things we do! Yes, variety is the spice of life!

Have you learned how to create balance in your life? How have you done it?  Or, are you one who is looking for ways to diversify your life?  Please share your comments and questions below; we’d love to have this conversation with you!


Take Challenges One Step at a Time

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

– Winston Churchill


What’s your reaction when the going gets tough?  Like the bumper sticker says, do you just “get going?” Or are you more likely to go back to bed and hope that when you wake up, it will all have blown over?

There’s something to be said for both of those approaches in their own way and at the right time. Sometimes we need to ride out a trial and let it resolve itself. Other times we need to buckle down, roll up our sleeves, and attack the problem.  

Easier said than done?  Not necessarily.  

When our most difficult trials occur, such as the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, it’s easy to get consumed with hopelessness and despair. These emotions are often followed by panic and a complete sense of failure. People in this situation have difficulty seeing the other side of the valley. It’s a terrible place to be.

There are two key ways to avoid this trap. One involves perspective—considering that some good might come of your experience.At least give it a chance! Perhaps an even better job opportunity might come your way. You may find a new friend, job, or love interest that’s a better match. Who knows?

The second key is to develop a step by step plan and take things one day at a time. Rather than focusing so much on the outcome (which often seems insurmountable), divide it up in pieces and work the plan. This way, the situation doesn’t seem so overwhelming and you’ll build momentum with each small success. As you make progress, you become more optimistic and perform better. There’s nothing like seeing some light at the end of the tunnel to help you regain hope. 

The massive job layoffs we’ve seen in our economy in recent years provide an excellent case in point. As companies have downsized their workforces, many excellent and dedicated workers have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. This is extremely painful because of the economic hardship and the loss of the daily contacts with colleagues and friends. People tend to react to this situation in one of two ways. Some fall into a deep trap of bitterness and self-pity, waiting aimlessly for something good to come along. Others use this as an opportunity to consider new career possibilities and/or to improve their skills. Then, they actively seek out new employment situations, often finding them superior to their former job. The same is true for younger people who don’t make the team, or don’t get into the college of their dreams.

You’d be amazed at how often these kinds of disappointments prove to be the catalyst for a better future. By taking the process step by step, you sustain a positive attitude during your transition period and prepare yourself better for the rest of your life. And this doesn’t just go for job losses; the same principle applies in many other challenges you may face in your life time.

When a trial strikes or your circumstances throw you for a loop, think about ways to slow down, step back, and focus on what (and who) is important. Remember that time heals pain, And, as Scarlett O’Hara famously said as she stood on the smoldering ruins of Tara in Gone with the Wind, “Tomorrow is another day.”                                                                     

When you go through an especially tough time, are you able to take things one step at a time? Do you see how progress helps improve your confidence and attitude? How can you encourage someone around you with this perspective? Please share your stories, insights, and questions with us; we’d love to hear from you!



Know Your Net Worth

We’ve seen it many times, especially in the sports world and entertainment industry. Stars become famous and amass substantial wealth in short order. They live lavish lifestyles, complete with palatial estates, luxury cars, private jets, and yachts. Their stories are seen on reality shows about the rich and famous. Everything seems to be going their way. And, we are ENVIOUS!

Then, one day we’re shocked to learn that the star that once had it all just declared bankruptcy! How on earth could this happen?

Whether it’s a famous star or a “wealthy” family in an exclusive neighborhood, it’s surprisingly common for the apparently rich to be in tough financial straits. You wouldn’t know it by their outward appearance, but people with substantial assets can be just as likely to head into financial ruin as those with more modest assets and income. It all has to do with whether their assets (what they own) exceed their liabilities or debts (what they owe). This difference is called “net worth.” If it’s positive and growing they’re in good shape. If it’s negative, they’re an accident waiting to happen.

Do you know YOUR net worth … and why it matters?


Simply stated, people who run into serious financial difficulty have negative and deteriorating net worth. It’s usually the result of living a lifestyle too extravagant for the income they earn or from financing expensive purchases. For example, if someone buys an expensive home and finances virtually all of it with debt, they’re no better off, in terms of net worth, than one who purchased a modest home with a modest down payment. It may not seem that way to the casual observer, but it’s a fact.

Most people get into financial trouble when they try to “keep up with the Joneses.” Their neighbors build a fancier home or purchase a new luxury car, and it’s tempting to follow suit. Suddenly, their debt levels soar even though their income remains the same.

You should calculate your net worth at least annually. To do this, simply compare the value of your assets (financial and property) with your liabilities (debts including loans and credit card balances). The difference should bepositive and risingthroughout your lifetime.

If your net worth is either negative or deteriorating, determine the cause and adjust your lifestyle and spending to get back on track. Most of the time, negative net worth situations occur when people spend too much on their home or car (usually requiring debt) or take on too much credit card debt relative to what their income can support. That’s why it’s essential to carefully evaluate what you can afford before making significant purchases.

Be sure you fully understand the difference between assets and worth. Too many people feel wealthy when they own a lot of things, but if they’re purchased on credit or with debt, it’s a myth. Do you have the self-discipline necessary to maintain a lifestyle that your income can support? Remember, if you don’t—like those ill-fated celebrities that had it all and then lost it—the consequences can be catastrophic. 

Have you learned to live within your means and been able to see a rising net-worth over your lifetime?  If you are just starting out, how do you plan to accomplish this? Share your ideas and questions with us; we’d love to hear from you!