“Deep breath! Okay, relax.” Those where the words of my fitness instructor as she told us to take a couple of minutes to cool down. And while her instruction was right, I knew we still had some minutes to go. This was just a break in the action and a time for us to regain our breath before the final workout. So, we didn’t need to lose our edge!

Athletes know what it means to maintain a winning edge. You can break, drink water, but you never allow the focus on your goal to change. Drift in that one area and you can usually hang up running shoes.

Dave Ramsey says, “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”

Stay Focused!

The analogy is true: What applies on the gym floor also applies to life. There are times when we do take breaks. We slow down, go on vacation, take time to be with our families, refocus on what is important in life, and then we go back at it again. You don’t have to be driven to gain success, you just need to be consistent, and determined to reach your goals.

So, how does this apply to life. Recently, the feds signaled in June that they probably would cut interest rates. In an article that appeared in Forbes online magazine, one policymaker, James Bullard, wanted to lower interest rates now. “That sort of dissent is often a sign a move is coming. . . . The prospects of significant near-term rate hikes are gone in stark contrast to how things looked last year. The markets take a different view, futures have rates falling faster, expecting at least two cuts by the end of the year, perhaps more according to the CME’s FedWatch Tool.”

In reading those word, I could almost hear people exhaling over the news as they think, “The stress is off. We can rest.” Well, the truth is we certainly can’t ignore the fact that the economy is robust. Unemployment is lower now than it has been in decades. Inflation is moderate and the U.S. economy is strong. So, why would I urge people to keep their financial edge? Isn’t that bypassing the “greatness” of this moment? Not at all!

Strengthen Your Grip!

You can bask in the sunlight of today’s market while retaining your edge. For example, use this time to strengthen your grip on important insights. Read, study, learn more, set goals, and invest wisely so your future, not only your portfolio, remains strong.

There are several rules Warren Buffett lives by. The first one is very interesting given the fact that during the 2008 financial crisis, he lost $23 billion. “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: never forget rule No. 1.”

Buffett maintains a mindset of a sensible investor. He’s not frivolous, doesn’t gamble, and doesn’t have a cavalier attitude saying it is okay to “kick back” or lose. Instead, he is extremely informed, does his homework, and invests in companies that he thoroughly researches.

He understands the companies that gain the right to his investment. More importantly, he doesn’t invest with the idea of losing and the same should be true of you and me.

Understand What it Means to be Steady

The stock market will always experience swings. Your goal is to remain steady through the ups and downs. Trust your investment counselor. Learn to listen and learn to read about investments, so you understand the counsel you’re receiving. Then lock in your focus and refuse to drift off to the sidelines or relax your grip to a point where you are losing interest, attention, and traction. Get in the game and stay there!

You can take a “water” break, when the economy is running well, but don’t buy into the notion that life only consists of ease, comfort, and pleasure. Be balanced in your view of finances and refuse to become fearful when the market shifts. Because when you get down to it the real bottom line is this: The only true measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all of it.