You know this story: a guy worth $20 million dies and someone who didn’t know exactly how much money he had asks, “How much did he leave behind?”

The answer: “All of it.” You bring nothing into this world, and you can take nothing with you when you go. You can leave behind things of value to others but that’s it.

I can’t describe what your Perfect Day entails, but you can. What I can do is give you a roadmap to help you get there.

Maybe you are an entrepreneur with a thriving business. Or maybe you are a talented employee who is looking to make a positive impact on this world. Finally, maybe you have lost sight of what is truly important. You are tired and stretched beyond all boundaries.

Suddenly, you realize you are moving through life without much vision. “Why am I pushing myself beyond joy, hope, and peace?” Good question!  Maybe you realize that you are working too much but you also think you are “getting great results.” Are you?

The only problem—and it’s a serious one—is that when your work life becomes all-consuming other areas suffer. I know because I once was a workaholic myself.

When clients tell me they have everything they could hope for; but are still not happy, I tell them their “happy meters” are broken. I’ve written about this before and the reason I’m bringing it up again is because there are a lot of “broken happy meters” in our world today.

I tell clients that it is not only their “happy meter” that is broken, but the yardstick they are using for happiest is also too short or too long. It’s only giving them part of the equation.

The question is not, are you happier than your business partner, neighbor, or peer. The question is: Have you fallen out of the habit of dreaming and seeing those dreams come true?

Take a moment and write down the one thing that would make you happy. What would fill the hole in your life so that you could finally say, “I’m happy and I have a true sense of peace”?

Entrepreneurially minded people typically set their happiness bar extremely high. A couple of years ago, people would watch Tony Robbins videos and believe they could have it all. They worked like crazy to make the money needed to fund what they believed was a fabulous life.

There was no balance! They end up overworking and in misery. Their personal relationships fall into disrepair, and they wonder what happened to their dreams for a happy life.

You may be great at setting goals for your businesses, but short-sighted when it comes to setting goals for your personal life. You have never created a business plan and calculated in how much time you want to spend with your family and loved ones.  

How do you know you are in trouble?

Self-absorption is a good indicator. If “work first” is your mantra, you may set goals that drag you aways from your desk but are still materially driven. Goals like: “I will run five marathons this year, visit three different countries, climb this mountain, and so it goes.” A self-absorbed person is never satisfied.

What happens when your focus is not set on the right things?

Ultimately, your business will suffer along with your health and relationships. You may have your name on the door as president, but you will net a meager life.

Sound bleak? It doesn’t have to be. T. S. Eliot wrote: “Every moment is a fresh beginning.” Take advantage of the gifts you have been given and make them count for something better than just yourself.

Don’t Confuse the Means for the End.

I’m not crushing on money! We work to make money. Money is not the root of all evils. It’s your drive and love for more and more money that is the problem. Having more of anything is not the cure to emptiness! Striving to make one more deal may feel good for a couple of days but guess what: you must always come down off the mountain!

Can you have it both ways? Live life now and have enough for the future. Absolutely! Here are a few suggestions.

• Prioritize your life. This may include giving up something but gaining more in return. It may mean changing your view from an office suite to a home office. It can also mean that you choose to leave work early to go to your child’s ballgame. The dividends that come from spending quality time with your kids is priceless. So, make a sacrifice you won’t regret.

• Live but be wise. I encourage clients to work with a trusted financial planner who understands their future goals but can also show them how to enjoy life now. I’m sure I make heads turn when I tell clients, “Take that vacation. Buy the second home and enjoy it now.” Be balanced but also know that you can enjoy some of what you have planned for, today! Remember, when you leave this earth, all that you own stays behind.

• Learn to listen. One of the happiest things you can do is listen to others who are interesting and have a great story to tell. A good listener equates being a great communicator. Taking time to listen slows us down, demonstrates that we care, and teaches us to be discerning. You learn more when you listen than when you talk over or beyond others. Listening also improves your leadership skills. Listening to what others have to say validates their personhood, which means they will follow, work alongside, and care more. There are numerous books on communication and most all contain a chapter on listening. Pick one up and read it and learn the one defining secret to success as a businessperson.

• Go to bed earlier and get up with a hopeful attitude. Getting plenty of rest makes you sharper. When you are not tired, you look at life through clearer lenses. During my workaholic days I thought burning the “candle at both ends” would reap more ROI. I was wrong. Living in overdrive didn’t bring me a return on my investment. In fact, I lost more than I gained. Getting off the hamster wheel taught me the value of family, friends, and life in general. Turning off the noise of this world taught me to enjoy what I have been given today!

Give Giving has always been a huge part of my life. There are so many ways to give but the best way is not just to toss money at something. Give yourself to an organization through volunteer work. For years, I have sponsored climbing expeditions for young women to build their self-esteem and confidence. You can always give financially, but you can also find ways to give more of yourself to others.

• Smile, laugh, and relax. No explanation needed. Just do it! These are attitude changers and life lifters!

Perfect Days are not perfect! They are days lived wisely and with gratitude in a very imperfect world. You can gain a deep sense of peace even in these times of change and unsettled financial markets.

You can read my personal Perfect Day story in the introduction of my book Perfect Day. In fact, download it for free, or sign up for a free consult with me. My greatest desire is to see you become all that you are meant to be.

I can show you how to re-evaluate your goals and assets — including assets you may never have considered. Most importantly, I will teach you how to gain the confidence you need to get on track for the future and many more Perfect Days!