Today I want to talk to you about the power of evaluation — or more accurately, re-evaluation. Let me explain. Our youngest son, Austin, is about to turn 19 and our twins, Tanner and Dillon, are close to 22. They have been very comfortable, living in a beautiful home by the beach (that I designed) — and who do you think has been paying their bills up until now?
Not long ago I did a bit of evaluation on that situation. Most of you reading this, I’m sure, were long out on your own by 22, and you are most likely awesome! That’s what I want for my kids too. So I decided the best way to get that for them was for me to give them a little warning (very little), sell the house, and then give them each a bit of cash to start things going. “Get a job, get a place, you are men, go make it happen,” I told them about six weeks ago. Great idea, right? You should have seen their faces when I told them they were going to have to “re-evaluate their circumstances” immediately!
Evaluating and re-evaluating our lives is one of the most important things we can do. Start by evaluating your current situation by asking yourself, “Where am I now?” And then ask, “Where do I want to go?” Knowing where you are and where you are going are the only two reference points that are critical to planning your life. Once you know those two answers, life decisions become automatic. Things get easier and more beautiful because the confusion goes away, and you’ll find that most of the decisions you used to agonize over won’t even come up.
But here’s the real secret: the only way you can truly answer the question “Where do I want to go?” is asking an underlying question: “Who do I need to become, to be the person that would have all of the things I want but don’t yet have?”
If you want more, you have to be more. If you want to have deeper relationships, be more loving and caring. Don’t talk about being more loving and caring: do more loving and caring things. Face it: you can’t have any of the things you don’t have now by doing the same things you have already done. And truth be told, aren’t you done with having great ideas and not acting on them?
Now, let me be clear on something. Not for a second am I suggesting that you try to be anyone else — only a better you that strives to be better still in every area of your life. But once you know who you need to be, you will have a clear idea of where you are now and the direction you need to go to have whatever you want in life. You’ll also have a clearer idea of your personal “gap”: the area between where you are now and where you want to go. If you aren’t closing that gap, you aren’t moving in the right direction.
When you re-evaluate your life using these questions and create greater clarity, it will eliminate decisions that do not move you in the direction of who you want to become. You start to ask, “Is what I’m doing now, this decision I’m about to make, moving me closer or further away from where I want to be?” If it moves you closer, it’s “yes.” If it moves you further away, it’s “no.” There is no middle ground — and things get a lot easier.
However, this clarity is a moving target, as situations keep changing. And as situations change, so do priorities and responsibilities. I have found that life needs constant re-evaluation. So I often ask myself, “What is most important in my life, and am I spending most of my time doing these things?”
Which brings me back to my boys and selling the house. As I write this, escrow on the house closes in two days, and Rocky and I are on week 2 of a 6-week South Pacific adventure trip through Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. We rented a place in Montecito as a home base to visit the kids, but we sold most of our furniture. We are traveling to experience the people, places and moments life has to offer. This is our new life, based on my asking, “What is most important in my life right now?”
For the next few years, when I am speaking in Europe, Rocky and I may stay there for 3 months. Same in Asia, Australia, Africa, wherever we end up. When my wife is working around the world with the “traveling wisdom show,” I can go along with her.
We re-evaluated and then took action to close the gap between where we were, and where and who we wanted to be. We have run away together with nowhere to go and all day to get there. And that’s happily achieving to me.