Several years ago I remember reading a book by John Maxwell about the importance of a leader’s habits and personal development. One particular line caught my attention, and still resonates with me today: “Leaders develop daily, not in a day.”
The same thing that’s true of great leaders is also true of a great life. If you want to thrive, in your personal life, family life, relationships, and work you need to engage in the right practices every day.
But what are those practices? What are the things that truly successful people practice each day that allow them to succeed and in their personal and professional lives?
Here are eight actions I believe anyone can P.R.A.C.T.I.C.E. in order to succeed:
1. Put God first. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:21, “Some of these people have missed the most important thing in life—they don’t know God” (TLB). God made us to know Him better and love Him more. Don’t let your work for God take priority over your relationship with God.
2. Reach out to your family. Not long ago I was reading about a high-profile coach who admitted that he hardly knew his own children because the time he devoted to coaching. While he has achieved a lot of success in terms of money, fame, and accomplishment it came at the cost of his family. Nothing is worth sacrificing your family for. If you win at work but lose at home you still lose.
3. Attend to your health. Our body is our vehicle for life. Just like you make sure your car has the right fuel and is regularly maintained, we need to do the same for our bodies. Of the eight practices listed here, this is the one I struggle with the most. Neglecting your health will decrease the quantity and quality of your life.
4. Continue to learn. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 10:10, “A dull ax means harder work. Being wise will make it easier” (NCV). The sharper our tools, the easier our work is. The greatest tool you will ever have is your mind. Keep it sharp by reading books, listening to podcasts, attending conferences, and engaging in relationships and experiences that stretch you. Personal development will take you further, faster.
5. Think positively. King Solomon once wrote, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 TEV). Our thoughts determine our feelings, our feelings determine our actions, and our actions determine our lives. If you want things in your life to be better you need to start thinking about better things.
6. Invest in others. Andy Stanley says, “The value of a life is determined by how much of it is given away.” The quality of our lives is largely determined by the quality of our relationships. The more we connect and contribute to the people around us the more happy and fulfilled we will become.
7. Conduct your finances wisely. The Bible says in Proverbs 21:20, “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (TLB). My wife and I spent the first half of our marriage living beyond our means and racking up debt. It has taken us years to pay it off and build up our savings, but we have done it. Getting our finances right has relieved so much stress from our lives. If you’re finances at work or home are out of whack do everything short of sin to make it right.
8. Execute your work with excellence. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Colossians 3:23 NLT). God blesses those who give their best to him and others. You don’t have to be the best, you just need to do your best.
How you implement each P.R.A.C.T.I.C.E. will depend on your unique personality, abilities, and circumstances. I’m confident the more effective you are about applying them to your life, the more successful you will become.