There are four areas of life that every man faces every day. And the way they are handled will bring either joy and success or pain and failure. These four foundational pillars in every man’s life are:
- Faith – The internal core of what aligns a man with his Creator to become who he is designed to be, and live out his purpose.
- Family – The central place of community that shapes a society.
- Fitness – The physical, mental and spiritual strength that gives the stamina and perseverance it takes to fulfill a man’s potential.
- Finances – The currency that fuels the freedom to provide for those in a man’s care and contribute to the needs of others.
Any one of these areas can consume the majority of your time and attention. And to the degree that you have not learned to master them, you will inevitably experience a compounding effect of problems that create stress, chaos and hurtful consequences for you and those around you.
But learning to master these will give you freedom to live out your purpose and fulfill your role. Men are internally wired to be protectors, providers and leaders. But if these everyday areas of life are not under control, you cannot successfully live out your purpose and role in life.
Real men ask for help when they need it.
Most men don’t. We don’t like to be told how to do things. We like to figure things out on our own. We like our independence and have an image of ourselves as mavericks able to blaze our own trail. The only problem is that even if we know where we want to end up, we don’t always know how to get there. How many times while driving somewhere have you stubbornly refused directions because you thought you knew the way, but you ended up lost?
Without some basic instructions in these four key areas of life, you can easily get confused, off-track, unproductive and ineffective. The decisions you make and the actions you take will cause outcomes that will either make or break you. Let’s face it, if we are willing to set our egos aside, show some transparent vulnerability and ask for help, we put ourselves in a position to learn, grow, succeed and lead.
A number of years ago, I finally came to the realization that I could use some help when it came to mastering things that I didn’t have expertise in. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to tackle these areas. It’s just that I didn’t have the experience to qualify me to know how to master these areas of life. But it’s not that complicated and doesn’t need to be intimidating.
And what’s the point in mastering your faith, family, fitness and finances? Is it just for the sake of becoming a better you? Will it cause you to become even more self-absorbed, trying to reach the pinnacle of all you can be? Perhaps. But only if you are too short-sighted to see the bigger picture.
It’s not just about you, and you don’t want it that way anyhow. Nobody wants to be selfish and no one wants to be around someone who is. But if the outcome of mastering these areas can cause you to be better equipped to help others, then you can avoid self-centered motives.
So, first things first. Do a quick evaluation of how things are going in each one of these areas.
For example, maybe you’re not really sure the whole faith thing is relevant. God is out there somewhere, and you’re slugging it out here on planet earth, so why think He would be involved in the details of your everyday life? Or you just don’t know enough about the whole subject and don’t want to take the time to learn.
Maybe you’ve had faith at one point in your life, but God seems to have ignored you or let you down or worse yet, punished you. So why bother? This puts you on shaky ground, leaving you without a firm belief that God loves you and wants good for you. As a result, nothing else can really come together the way you hope it could.
Perhaps you’ve struggled with your family relationships and, no matter how hard you try, it seems like there is nothing you can do to fix it. Or maybe you’re aware that things could be better, but your work is so all-consuming that you think you have to put making a living first.
And now, you’re suffering the effects of family members who judge you, don’t trust you, and feel ignored, unloved and uncared for. Worse yet, you may already have crossed over the line and have such brokenness in the relationship that you are convinced it’s too late and things are over.
Your health and fitness are things you know need more attention, but you don’t have the time or the energy to make the effort or even have the want-to. You know that if you lost some weight, reshaped your physique, and had more stamina and drive, everything else in life would feel the positive effects. But you simply don’t have the discipline, the know-how or the right motivation to make it a priority.
Your health is at risk and maybe you are already experiencing the decline in the way your body should perform. You don’t want it that way, but feel almost helpless in changing it, to the point that you can’t even imagine what it would be like to function at your peak performance.
When it comes to finances, are you so in control that you feel invincible? Or are you so out of control that you feel enslaved? Have you measured success, or lack of it, by how much you earn, how much you owe or how much or little is in your bank account? Ever get in so deep you’ve been on the verge of bankruptcy, or already declared it?
Has your financial position kept you up at night, and like a computer program always running in the background, money is constantly on your mind? Or maybe things are just “OK,” and while you’re “getting by,” it never seems like you can really get ahead with enough reserve to take the pressure off.
Have an open and honest conversation with yourself. Acknowledge where you’re struggling so you can go into attack mode and learn to master it.
—Take a moment right now and think about which of these four areas of life are already causing pain for you. Write it down.
—What are the consequences of not having it under control?
—Besides you, who else is being affected by it?
—How would life look differently if this area was mastered?
—What can you do, starting today, to make a plan that will cause you to take action and make changes?
You may already have one or more of these four areas somewhat mastered. But thinking that you don’t need to improve will short-circuit your growth.
Every man has an opportunity to learn more and become more proficient in each one of these areas. Doing so earns you the expertise to master all four of these crucial areas of life and gives you the confidence to be successful and to serve others.
For a more in-depth look at how to master faith, family, fitness and finances, get Todd Isberner’s new book What Every Man Needs to Know: How to Master Faith, Family, Fitness and Finance.