Can you remember a time when you felt as though your work and your life were not your own? Can you recall a time when there were more "to-do's" being added each day than were being subtracted? When that feeling of despair was a constant companion?

I can.

I remember vividly working six, sometimes seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day. Vacation was when I was home with the flu. Not fun. However, working at a breakneck pace to build the practice and fulfill my promise to be there for my clients was just part of the gig. I somehow managed to answer the calls, write the letters, work on the plans and meet with clients.

I was Superman without the cape, but somehow I didn't feel so super. I stared at the piles of professional journals I wanted to read, but there was no time in my day-or night, for that matter.

I remember that my ability to consistently deliver a plan that reflected what my clients truly wanted was sometimes less than adequate. I wondered whether it was because they lacked clarity or because I did.

My time with my children and wife were limited to the brief hours of home time, where I ached for sleep but did my best to attend to their needs as well. I was woefully out of shape from poor eating and lack of exercise. It was not a pretty picture. I knew that something had to give and I was hoping it was not my endurance.

Have you ever had a nagging thought in the back of your mind that didn't want to come out? I did-a voice telling me that change was necessary. Perhaps there was a little person living in the bags under my eyes imploring me to find a better way.

My first "aha" moment came when I found the Loring Ward fee-based investment platform that would provide me with a rational approach to clients' money. It was like a light switch being turned on! You mean, I don't have to scour hundreds of retail mutual funds hoping to find those that actually did what they said they were going to do? WOW! Really?

My second "aha" moment came when I heard Michael Gerber, "The E-Myth" meister, talk about working ON my business, rather than IN my business. What a concept; and here I thought all I had to do was show up every day, meet clients, work on their needs, answer their questions and voila ... a successful business.

My third "aha" was taking the opportunity to attend Dick Zalack's Focus Four coaching program. The idea here was to work ON purpose, WITH purpose and FOR a particular outcome.