Life, Meaning and Why I Wrote ‘Success & Sanity’

Well I’ve been to the mountain and I’ve been in the wind
I’ve been in and out of happiness
I have dined with kings, I’ve been offered wings
And I’ve never been too impressed.

Bob Dylan

If you were to drive East from my home, you would reach Sequoia National Park in just under ninety minutes. Rolling down your windows, you would catch the scent of pine and earth, drawing your senses to the beauty surrounding you and the greatness of ancient trees.

After a two hour drive west, you would find yourself along Highway One, skirting California’s central coast at sunset. In the fading light, you would feel the warmth of the lowering sun on your face as you soaked in the peace of the moment.

My entire life has been situated within arm’s length of some of God’s most ethereal creations, but for a long time I lived too hard and too fast to stop and take in the beauty which offered itself so generously.

Much to the tune of one of Dylan’s most classic songs, I chased down one goal after another without looking back and without allowing myself to experience true contentment for many years. My fierce determination has been a large part of my success, but recently I’ve realized that I may have paid too high a price.

My new book, ‘Success & Sanity’, is my attempt to share my journey with you. In the past few years I’ve learned some new things that, like most of the important lessons in life, I discovered the hard way. These lessons are invaluable to me, and I trust they can be helpful to you, too.

I’m in the insurance business, and I’ve written books and given seminars on all kinds of business-related topics. While this book is true to my insurance and business background, it’s different than the others. This one is for the CEO and the person who makes deliveries, the front office and the field, those who consider themselves up-and-comers and those who feel like the down-and-outers. All of us need to be honest enough to take a hard look at our lives, and we need the guts to make the changes necessary.

Maybe your story is similar to mine. Maybe you have been so focused on reaching financial and organizational goals that you’ve never stopped long enough to be fully present or to ask the big questions about life: who am I? Whose am I? Who do I want to become? What is my purpose?

I wish I had stopped earlier to ask the big questions. I would have still had high goals, but I would have put them in a far bigger, broader, richer context of meaning and purpose. I would have enjoyed giving, supporting and encouraging earlier in my career. I would have stopped to appreciate the beauty in surroundings, moments and people much sooner.

The other day I went on a walk in a neighborhood not far my childhood home. Although I had walked and driven through this neighborhood countless times throughout my life, on this particular morning, it was like I was experiencing it again for the first time. Because of my recent change in perspective, something as simple and grand as a large oak tree was able to interrupt my busy thoughts and plans for the day and invited me stop, be still and enjoy the moment.

I’ve realized it’s never too late to ask the right questions, uncover the right answers, and change the course of a life. My deepest hope for this book is that it would be a companion to you as you stop, breathe and take a step in a new direction.

This book is my way of saying, “If I can do it, so can you.”