Personal Inventory


While reading this article, consider this question: How are you using your time, money, and energy? You obviously can’t answer me, but this isn’t a rhetorical question. Take a moment to think back over the days and weeks that have just passed. Think about your time. Think about your money. Think about your energy. And I’m talking about looking at the big picture—you don’t need to create an itemized list of each as you think things through. As you look at it, my guess is that you’re getting an idea of some recurring themes. So, here’s the follow up question: Are the things that have received the majority of your resources focused primarily on things that just please you?

If they are, don’t think that I’m sitting around and judging you as I write this. That’s not my intent at all. I’m simply hoping you will see some places in your life where your actions are out of alignment with your values. It happens to all of us. That’s why we sometimes need to take a personal inventory and see how we’re doing. If we don’t pay attention, things can get out of alignment pretty quickly. That’s why businesses do the same thing. They are focused on making money, so they need to know every factor that could impact the bottom line. As individuals, hopefully our focus is more on the relationships we value than it is on solely making money. That means our version of “taking stock” of our lives should focus on how much we’re investing into other people. We need to do this evaluation on a regular basis, because when we’re not intentional about it, we can easily lose sight of what really matters to us.

But please don’t get me wrong; we all need to do things to stay healthy. There are things that will be “you” focused. It’s okay for you to have things that you do to take care of yourself. In fact, it’s healthy and important to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. However, I’m encouraging you to make sure that everything isn’t focused only on what you want. If you’re spending all your money on you, that can lead to some pretty selfish lifestyles. If you’re spending all of your time and energy on you, you’ll find yourself pretty lonely in the long run.

If this evaluation is making you realize that you’ve been more self-focused than others-focused lately, then I hope that you’ll commit to making some changes. As you’re working to shift your focus, it’s important to remember that changes are rarely implemented perfectly on the first try. Don’t bring an all-or-nothing perspective to this because you are very likely to make some missteps along the way. But that’s okay. By simply making the commitment to move in a healthier direction, you’re doing the right thing.

And your new, others-focused approach will be something that will have a huge impact on your marriage and family life. It will change the way that you parent and the way that you set a positive example for the people around you. When you make sure that you have good balance with your time, money, and energy, you’ll be setting yourself up to invest in the things that you truly value.