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(Part One)

James W. Herring, 86, of Murfreesboro makes an effort each day to honor God in all areas of his life; a practice for nearly two-thirds of his years on planet earth developing what James calls LIFE PLAN, a personal commitment to living a ‘balanced life’.

The tenants of his LIFE PLAN are Spiritual Pursuits, Home and Family, Work and Business, Play and Recreation. For him, it is all about INSPIRATION: Any thought or emotion that produces positive action.

His story began with birth into a family of share croppers in Graves County, Kentucky.  Money was in short supply for the large Herring family. James recalls, “We worked hard during the week and attended Church on Sunday.”  While formal education ended after the 12th grade, his pursuit of education was gleaned from the best of the best: Famous writers who shared ‘lessons in living’ found in inspirational literature…along with him attending countless professional courses and seminars. He calls it a ‘lifetime of learning’.

He graduated from high school in 1954 and believes finding a 35-cent magazine in a drug store showcasing good health and fitness was more than a coincidence.  James saw the importance of ‘staying physically and mentally fit’; dedicating time and effort to reading and practicing what would be required for longevity in mind, body and soul.

In his balanced-living James stresses the importance of ‘repetition’; from his daily physical routine to reading, praying, planning and following through. He says, “Everything begins on the mental plane before it is accomplished on the physical plane.”

When developing his LIFE PLAN years ago, James concluded that three (3) important questions had to be answered. (1) What am I trying to achieve? (2) What are the most important things in my life? (3) What is keeping me from reaching my goals?

James believes all people can benefit from the principles he learned. He adds, “It’s important to write down our objectives…and review them regularly remembering that a person’s perspectives change every five years. We must dream, visualize and stay focused.”

His road to success with a well-balanced life really had its beginning in high school while working at the Mayfield newspaper learning type-setting. Realizing the limitations of a professional career there, James believed better ways and days were ahead with a move to Murfreesboro; first landing a job at Courier Printing.

With his glowing personality, he met and became acquainted with many who appeared to be successful in chosen careers, especially those who owned their own business or were engaged in real estate. James got an idea from a customer in Chattanooga about starting a ‘shopper newspaper’ which evolved into his Merchants Advocate.

The Merchants Advocate published and circulated 30 thousand copies each week, garnering a significant share of the advertising dollars in Middle Tennessee.  James also saw potential in real estate and began developing a successful portfolio of rental properties.  James later sold the Merchants Advocate to a local newspaper. 

From daily meditation on Scriptures and reading scores of inspirational books over the years, James expanded his horizon that included being a successful newspaper publisher employed by a national corporation to being a member of The National Speakers Association.

Next month, I will share more about James and his strategy for developing a LIFE PLAN.

Ralph E. Vaughn

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