By Ray Hand

center of a target with arrows extending showing ways to live a better life

As we age, life gets more complicated and without knowledge and intentional effort our lives can get out of balance. As we have children, careers progress, our parents’ health declines and concerns grow for our own health, we can become confused about – or even forget – our own happiness and direction. Each of these areas is vitally important. Properly balancing your personal, professional and health priorities are critical to maintaining or regaining happiness and direction.

I often speak to groups of high-performing, driven, Type-A personality individuals who gain fulfillment through professional achievement. Assuming their objectives and methods are morally and ethically appropriate, this drive can be a very good thing for them, those they serve and their families. However, when their professional achievement becomes their primary focus to the exclusion of other areas – faith, family and health – it will ultimately lead to disappointment and failure.

Striking a Balance

My father modeled a balance of faith and family for me long before I understood what he was doing. His priorities were clear from his behaviors:  his faith, his love for his family and then everything else. Today, I focus on these priorities using the acronym CFE: Creator, family, everything else.

My father was often required to work 60-70 hour weeks in certain seasons. But never once did he sacrifice his priorities. He intentionally lived his life on target with his beliefs. Those priorities helped him and my family strike a balance that gave me a joyful, fulfilled childhood and my parents a happy marriage – but still the balance wasn’t quite right.

One area he did not prioritize was his health. He and my mother both failed to understand how to properly care for their bodies. With a family history of substance abuse, they never consumed alcohol or illegal drugs. However, what they ate, lack of exercise and a belief that prescriptions cure everything cost them quality of life.

A few years ago, I was suffering from fatigue, acid reflux and a heart condition. I began searching for a more balanced direction than the path I had seen modeled in my family.

Learning to Live on Target

Providentially, I encountered Matt Johnson, president of On Target Living, who teaches principles of adequate rest, proper nutrition and daily movement in a way I had never heard. Their business, started by his father, Chris Johnson, teaches that a proper foundation built on resting, eating and moving your body and mind will allow you to perform at optimal levels throughout your entire life.

With a healthy dose of skepticism, I followed a couple of their suggestions and found immediate relief. My acid reflux disappeared within a couple of weeks after I began simply adding lemon juice to the water I drank each day. I followed their suggestion to drink spring or artesian water because it replenishes your body with minerals instead of drinking purified water. They taught me that improving the quality of the food and hydration I consumed had a direct impact on my physical, mental and family health.

My weight reduced, my natural energy returned and my mental acuity sharpened. Now I perform better at work and in my personal life. Matt said, “You can’t build or control the outcome, but you can definitely build and control the foundation. Create a sustainable process around how you REST, EAT and MOVE. Your health, happiness and performance will thank you.”

Making the Choice

The future is not certain; however, we can make the most of what we have been given. “Most people don’t know what being their best actually feels like, because they have never given it a chance! Once you feel your best, you will never let it go,” Matt said. I have a friend who is the same age as my parents. He and his family have long been proponents of a well-balanced set of priorities. Although in his 80s, he lives an extremely active lifestyle including an annual cycling vacation he’s taken in various foreign countries. Even as the pace of life continues to accelerate, if you build some basic foundations around CFE and apply some targeted REST, EAT and MOVE to your life, you will gain the edge you desire.

About the Author

Raymond I. Hand, CISP CFTA

Raymond I. Hand, CISP CFTA

Senior Vice President, Sales and Service Director BB&T Private Advisors

As sales and service director, Ray oversees teams of private advisors and ensures the sales & service process meets the needs of BB&T’s affluent clients. He has over 25 years of financial services experience. Ray earned a B.B.A. degree in trust management from Campbell University.  He has served on the Certification Advisory Board of the Institute of Certified Bankers, Washington, D.C.