I'm not sure why this is the case, but more and more contracting group meetings and conventions are exploring territory beyond the usual topics, which include business management-related seminars, sales tactics lessons, and equipment technical sessions.

Take, for instance, the recent Excellence Alliance 8th Annual Fall Meeting, held in Las Vegas. Sure, providing solid business advice were consultants Al Levi and Dave Dombrowski, who were among the presenters, as was Dennis Laughlin, president of Arzel Zoning Technology. The keynote speech was an inspirational address from Matt Smith of The Contractor's Friend. Yet, sandwiched in between the more typical business seminars was a different type of presentation from Robert Tunmire, the executive vice president of the Dwyer Group.

His thought-provoking talk, "Success That Matters," was not a discussion concerning financial matters or how to take care of one's business. No, far from it. Instead, Tunmire had member attendees dig deep within themselves to determine if they were going in the right direction on this road called life.

The Wheel Of Life

Tunmire presented a unique definition regarding success. He learned it from Don Dwyer, the man responsible for putting together the Dwyer Group companies, which include AireServ. The definition of success, according to Dwyer, is "the progressive realization of worthwhile, predetermined personal targets."

"Look at that definition very carefully," said Tunmire. "Notice that it takes effort from you. It makes you determine and write down what you want out of life."

To help a person through this process, Tunmire introduced what he called "the wheel of life." All one has to do is draw a circle, having six spokes. The spokes represent the six major areas of life: financial/career, physical, social/recreation, mental, spiritual/ethical, and family. Using a scale of 0 to 10, Tunmire asked attendees to use the wheel to evaluate their current status in each area.

"For instance," Tunmire explained, "on the financial spoke, if your in-come is now $20,000 a year and you want to earn $40,000, you're 50 percent of the way to your target. So you put a slash mark at the middle of the financial spoke."

The next spoke, to the right, stands for the physical aspects of one's life. "There's no point in becoming the richest person in town if you only spend your money on hospital bills, so this is a very important area in your life," Tunmire explained. "Ask yourself if you're at the right weight. Do you get enough exercise? Do you have regular physical and dental checkups? Is your diet healthy? Do you get enough rest? Are you under stress?"

Going around the wheel, next in line is personal life. Do you schedule and take vacations? Do you have time to relax? Do you have hobbies that you enjoy often? Do you make friends easily and give those friendships the needed time?

"This can be the hardest area to develop if you're a workaholic," said Tunmire. "Playing pays off tremendously in both your career and business. Even machines have a schedule of routine maintenance. In the same way, your mind and body must be rejuvenated from time to time."

Looking Inward

Tunmire urged attendees to keep their minds active.

"Unfortunately, once our formal schooling is over, the mental area gets very little attention, even though we constantly need fresh information," he said. "Questions to ask might be: Do you work on positive mental conditioning every day? Do you associate with people who'll add to the development of your mind?"

On the spiritual side, do you treat people ethically? Do you live up to your own value system?

Regarding the sixth and final spoke of the wheel - family - Tunmire termed it "the most important area of anyone's life."

"It's also the one we tend to neglect because we think it'll take care of itself," he stressed. "It's very easy to fall in the habit of merely reacting to inescapable events and never taking any initiative. Ask if you spend quality time with your family."

After evaluating each of the six areas, the marks on the circle can be connected with a line. If the resulting circle is grossly uneven, "you're going to be in for a bumpy ride through life," warned Tunmire. "It means your priorities aren't in order."

In his estimation, when you revise your life so that the inner wheel evens out, life should be-come a smooth ride.

"You'll also find that as you improve in one area, the other areas automatically improve," he said.

Mark Skaer is editor-in-chief. He can be reached at 618-239-0288 or markskaer@achrnews.com.

Publication date: 11/01/2004