Higher Ground Becomes Shaky Ground Without the Balance of Solid Ground – Part 2

balance in life

The different elements of your life are like spokes on a wheel

In the previously posted excerpt from, In Search of Higher Ground we began looking at the eight elements that keep our life in balance. We referred to the elements as spokes on a wheel and that in order for the wheel to move quickly and freely it has to be in balance.
The eight spokes included:


Your Personal Higher Ground is dependent upon your ability to keep these items balanced in your life.

There are some who would argue that these eight elements are an either/or choice. In other words, if you are completely committed to your family life, then you will not have financial success. Or if you are committed to your career, your family will suffer. I couldn’t disagree more! I am not one who believes that the eight spokes of life are an either/or choice. I am convicted to believe that all of these things are possible for someone if, they truly work at it and keep it all in balance. I believe with all my heart that each person can live with a high level of character, that their relationships can be rewarding and fulfilling, that they can obtain a comfortable level of financial independence, that they can be emotionally, mentally and physically healthy while maintaining a constant and growing faith in God. Life is not an either/or because Higher Ground does not have to exist in only one area of your life. If you are at least willing to be all that your Creator wants you to be…more and better is always possible.

We have looked at the first four elements or spokes in our life. (Personal, Financial, Relational, and Physical.) Now let’s take a look at the final four elements that are necessary to keep your wheel rolling.


We are speaking here primarily of being free of Emotional baggage. We live in a society where it is easy to pick up Emotional baggage. There are millions of people who are bitter toward a former spouse, angry at a parent who neglected them, have memories of a tragedy that took place in their life, have a friend who hurt or betrayed them, or have had a certain event that is causing them to live their lives with constant resentment. This type of baggage is like a giant weight that is attached to your heart, and it keeps you from climbing to Higher Ground.

I have learned that resentment is like a boomerang. It keeps coming back and hitting you upside the head. I also have learned that most of the time those whom we are resentful toward don’t know it, and quite often don’t care.

As I continue to climb up my own personal Higher Ground, I have had my share of darts thrown at me. People have hurt me in ways I would have never expected. Sometimes things were said by people in whom I had personally invested my life. I can choose to let it make me bitter or I can choose to let it make me better. I choose the latter! I don’t want to live with resentment. I realize that my Higher Ground in life will be extremely limited if I cannot learn to let it go.

Please note that I do not want to minimize any event that has hurt you. In my line of work I meet hundreds of people who have real pain from real situations. I feel for them and I do my best to help them overcome it. I want to do the same for you. If there is resentment, anger or bitterness in your life, you have to deal with it. See a counselor or pastor, but begin to remove that thing that is wrapped around your heart and won’t let you go. If you don’t, you are destined to live a life short of your capabilities. You will never reach your Highest Ground because you will be anchored by a weight called resentment and it will inhibit you from climbing to the top. Alexander the Great said, “I have conquered the world, but I cannot conquer my own emotions.” Be determined to conquer your Emotional baggage or in the end it will conquer you!


Years ago a movie premiered starring Billy Crystal -it was called “City Slickers.”1 The movie centered around a character who was set up to be your typical middle aged man. He had a good job, a wife, two children, and was making descent money. However, he had become bored with his life and bored with his work. His job performance was at such a low level that his boss demanded to approve any decision he would make. For his birthday present his two buddies gave him a gift. It was a two-week adventure in which they would move a herd of cows from Colorado to Texas. (I know what you are thinking, it doesn’t sound like much fun.) The movie is great and full of comedy, but at the end of the movie when he sees his wife again, she says to him, “I have been thinking, if you want to quit your job because you are not happy, go ahead, we’ll get by.” He says to her, “No, I’m not going to quit, I’m just going to do it better.”

Maybe you can identify with Billy Crystal’s character and the thousands of other Americans who say, “I hate my job.” Maybe it’s not the job you want or maybe it’s a job until you finish schooling or until your business gets off the ground. Either way, it’s what you do to make a living and where you probably spend about 1/3 of your life. What you may not realize is that the characteristic of someone who is reaching for Higher Ground is also someone who does the best they can in any situation. Every mountain you climb has its share of obstacles. That’s what makes it a mountain. It’s your attitude toward the obstacles that will make all the difference in your journey to the top.

Martin Luther, in his commitment to excellence, once said, “If you’re a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be.” Your occupation may not be what you want at this time, but that is not the point. Your attitude toward your current profession will be the same attitude you carry with you throughout life. If you can’t strive for excellence at your current level, there’s a good chance that you won’t be ready for the next level.


The next spoke in the wheel of life is Mental. The mental condition of a person strongly determines the outcome of that person’s life. Your personal Higher Ground is more likely to be achieved when it is spearheaded by a healthy Mental state of mind.

Doctors, psychologists, and behavioral studies all point to the power found in having a strong and healthy mental approach toward life. Even the Bible indicates that our actions follow our thoughts, and that if someone truly believes, they can overcome the mountains in their lives.

Being mentally healthy means having a strong self esteem. It means believing in yourself, believing that anything is possible. It means thinking on a more positive and optimistic level. It’s realizing that nothing good comes out of a negative Mental approach. That all hope is removed by the individual who continues to be pessimistic about their own life and their own surroundings. The legendary comedian Lucille Ball stated, “One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”

Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has proven that optimists are more successful than equally talented pessimists in business, education, sports, and politics. The Metropolitan Life Company proved this theory by developing the “Seligman Attributional Style Questionnaire.” This test is taken by applicants looking for employment, and its purpose is to separate those who are pessimists from those who are optimists. Metropolitan Life has discovered that optimistic people (those who have a healthy Mental approach) outsell the pessimist by as much as 50% per year. Same talent and same ability, but different mental outlook.

Our mind is a powerful thing. When we finally attempt what we once thought was impossible, we realize how much we would have missed, had we continued with our pessimistic approach. Focus your mind on the possibilities, and your mind will direct you to a Higher Ground.


The final spoke in the wheel of life is Spiritual. For those who have a practicing faith, this is what you may call a no-brainer. You have a faith that is lived out each day and you have come to understand the great joy and fulfillment that comes from having God in your life. But for those who have not yet consecrated their life to God or who have put their faith into action, this act of spirituality may seem irrelevant. It may be hard for you to imagine why a Spiritual pursuit would be necessary for success. How does God fit into my relationships, career, finances or any other dream or goal I am pursuing?

A variety of studies have been done indicating that having an active faith is helpful for one’s day to day life. For instance, Harvard University studied the causes that prayer has on someone’s life and discovered that those who make prayer a daily practice are more likely to be healthier and happier. They also did a study indicating those who practice their faith in God have a much greater chance of making their marriage work. The odds of divorce in America is one out of three. The odds for those who have an active faith in God are one out of 1,000. Another study indicated those who practice their faith have a lower level of stress in their lives. Many studies and many facts prove the same that a Spiritual life makes a difference.

I would encourage you, if you do not have a practicing faith in God, to investigate it for yourself. Find a local church who believes in the Lord and the Bible and begin to seek out what it really means. You will discover what millions of businessmen, political leaders, firemen, policeman, entrepreneurs, and small and big business leaders have discovered for themselves:…God makes a difference.


Before you move any further, think back over all eight spokes in the wheel of life. (Personal, Financial,Relationships, Physical, Emotional, Professional, Mental, and Spiritual.) Think about the ones that you need to work on the most. What needs to change in your life? What priorities are out of line? Are there character issues that need to be handled or maybe some relationships that need nurturing? Maybe you have some emotional issues that need tending or possibly you need a boost of self-confidence and a new positive outlook to help you reach your Higher Ground. Whichever one, or more, it is, begin working on it. Don’t neglect one or the other, pursue excellence in each area. Remember the spokes only move smoothly toward the top when they are all in balance.

I said earlier in this chapter that the eight spokes in the wheel of life are not an either/or decision. As Zig Ziglar says, “You can have all the things money can’t buy and some of the things money can buy,” if you will learn to keep it all in balance. Work hard at all eight spokes and become the person you are meant to be!

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen


“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment,  you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.”

-Brian Tracy


About Chris Sonksen

Chris Sonksen is the founder and Lead Pastor of South Hills Church and has an exceptional ability to inspire both secular and non-secular audiences. Under his leadership, South Hills has experienced phenomenal growth and in just a few short years has grown from a handful of people to nearly 3000 in attendance today. Today South Hills has become a thriving, multi-service and multi-site church. Chris has a magnetic, captivating and humorous style for motivating and inspiring all audiences. As a motivational speaker, he has spoken both nationally and internationally in companies such as Verizon, Securitas and Home Depot, and there is no doubt that by applying his teachings, his audience will improve the quality of their lives! Chris is the author of two books In Search of Higher Ground and Handshake. Chris is the founder of Celera Church Strategy Group an organization with an unwavering commitment to excellence in all things, with the goal to “raise the national average of church attendance,” by equipping church leaders with resources and coaching. Chris brings high-energy focus and a passion for vision and leadership to encourage and equip the local Church. Chris is a native Californian, born in Long Beach and currently resides in Corona with his wife, Laura and their two children, Grace and Aidan.

Posted on September 2, 2010, in balance, Leadership, Personal Growth and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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