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Finish Strong with Clarity, Conviction, and Courage

You can't control the market so focus on the factors within your control.

Allyson Lewis, 08/28/2008

Allyson Lewis will host an exclusive web seminar for advisors on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Speaking at quarter-end, Lewis will highlight small measures that can push your practice past the formidable one-yard-line and achieve end-goal success. To attend, please register now at http://www.mp.morningstar.com/webseminar/.

We are quickly moving closer to the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2008; no one could have forecast the volatility and economic strains placed on the financial markets by surging oil prices and the plummeting values of CDOs, but it doesn't take a practice-management coach to recognize that these same strains placed on the financial markets have caused stress for financial advisors and individual investors alike.

The obvious question we would all like to have answered is this: What will the future hold between now and the end of the year? Unfortunately, market performance is the one aspect of our careers that none of us can control. Therefore, let's choose to finish the year strong by focusing on three incredibly exciting concepts that we do have some control over:

* Clarifying your purpose, then establishing your goals and objectives.
* Increasing our personal level of conviction regarding the truths of long-term investing.
* Developing the courage to help our clients make and stick with prudent decisions

Clarity
Many financial advisors will take time each year to establish goals and objectives for the year ahead. This article asks you to go a step further: if you want the opportunity to reignite your passion for your career, schedule an entire day to clarify "why" you do what you do. Answering the fundamental "why?" question is essential to your future success because when you have a deep understanding of your purpose, of the beliefs and values that are critically important to you, you have a much deeper foundation from which to create your true goals.

Take time to reflect on your unique gifts and talents. What are the parts of your current job that make your palms sweat and your heart pound with anticipation of success? What do you do really well? The bottom line for your purpose is not so much what you do for yourself. Understanding your purpose demonstrates how you serve your clients, your company, and even the world around you. 

Once you have clarified your purpose and answered some of the "why?" questions, then you will have a much stronger foundation from which to establish your personal goals and objectives.

Conviction
After you have clarified where you are going, you will begin to see a path lay out before you. It is almost like you are stuck in the deep, dark woods and it seems as though there is no way to step forward. Then, you make a choice to move forward and somehow, as you move through the trees, you see a path open up--a path that was there all along, you just hadn't had the conviction to continue to move forward.

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