Are you one of the few who woke up this morning looking forward to your work day?
You are one of the 638,322. Your vocation offers the freedom to build a business on your own terms. You decide how hard you will work. Yet, far too many financial advisors are mired in routine. It is easy to become oblivious to the brilliant opportunities that surround you.
However, you can choose to purposefully focus your full attention on priorities that matter most. Of course you know what it is going to take to grow your business. You know you will have to make the prospecting calls, reach out to high-net-worth people, and ask them to do business with you. Of course you must be knowledgeable, competent, and trustworthy.
But what may surprise you is the importance of staying engaged in your daily work. Out of the 638,322 registered representatives, are you one of the few who woke up this morning looking forward to your work day?
Here are four steps to re-engage with your work, so you can grow your business and find meaning in the daily activities of a financial advisor.
Step 1: Establishing Clear Objectives
Objectives are the foundation your goals will be built upon; they carry a deeper sense of meaning. Clear objectives affect more than your business. They affect your life. Clarifying your objectives requires clarifying the values that are most important to you. Growing your business begins with understanding your priorities and your purpose in life. Your life objectives must be easy to understand, sharply defined, and free of confusion.
How to set clear objectives. Click on this link to prioritize the values that are most important to you. Watch the two-minute priorities video and download the priorities worksheet. Then establish your written priorities.
Click on this link for more information on how to rediscover your purpose. Watch the three-minute video. Download the "rediscovering your purpose" worksheet. Create your written purpose statement.
Step 2: Understand Your Highest and Best
The words "highest and best" refer to being the highest quality, having the most value, and being the most advantageous to everyone involved. Your highest and best demands you reach into the very core of your heart and deliver the absolute best to your work and your life.
Understanding your highest and best reminds me of football athletes who wake up at 5:30 a.m. to head to the practice field only to push themselves to the limits of their mental and physical abilities.
How to understand your highest and best. Download and complete the "Highest and Best" worksheet.
Step 3: Setting and Executing Challenging Goals
A goal has a beginning and an end. There is always a defined starting point and a defined destination. For example, when you plan to run in a race, you know exactly where the race starts and ends, you know how far you will be expected to run, and, even prior to running, you have a pretty good idea of what it will take to win
Challenging goals re-engage you in your daily work life, and achievement of each goal develops momentum and a sense of fulfillment.
There is a process for goal setting:
> Set your high-level goals
> Develop projects and deadlines
> Determine project ownership
> Establish high-value activities
> Create your written daily plan of action (more on that below)
> Accomplish one tiny action at a time (we call these "micro-actions")
Step 4: Ask, "What Is My Goal for Tomorrow?"
Goals create a sense of urgency and excitement. Defining the destination inspires imagination and develops self-motivation. Goals dare you to test your own ability and to push the limits of your own expectations.
The premise of my company, The 7 Minute Life, is to take 1% of your day to think. There are 24 hours in a day. That is 1,440 minutes. 1% of your day is 14 minutes. Take seven minutes in the evening to ask, "What is my goal for tomorrow?" and seven minutes in the morning to create your written daily plan of action to accomplish that goal.
Thinking for seven minutes requires stepping out of the chaos so you can run your practice with intention rather than reaction. Thinking is the most powerful tool to re-engage with your work.
How to create your written daily plan of action. The 7 Minute Life Daily Progress Report is a template I created to serve as a roadmap to reach my daily goals. At the top right of the first page you will see a life-changing opportunity to set and achieve your daily goals. Scroll down and watch the three two-minute videos. You can also download the seven-day version. Use the printed Daily Progress Reports to create your written daily plan of action.
Having a to-do list of things you need to accomplish is of no value. Taking time to create a list of five high-value activities that you commit to accomplishing before 11 o'clock is very different. We call this creating your "5 before 11" list.
Example of a to-do list:
1. Call three prospects
2. Know what the market is doing
3. Meet with my mentor
4. Set up a face-to-face meeting with a client
5. Prepare the documents needed for this client meeting
This is an unrealistic to-do list. First, it is impossible to accomplish all of these tasks before 11 o'clock. Next, this to-do list shows valuable activities, but there are no specific tasks you can actually accomplish.
Compare the to-do list shown above with the following 5 before 11 list:
1. Call three prospects: Sam Johnson--I met him last night--his number is 870.555.1234. Heather Franklin--one of the women I play tennis with who just retired from her job--her number is 870.555.5678. Dr. and Mrs. Al Thompson--they are friends of my husband; their number is 870.555.7777.
2. Call my mentor to set up a time to meet in her office at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Let her know I would like her advice and an actual copy of the template she uses when she hosts a client meeting.
3. Call Dr. John Doe to invite him to meet me for coffee to talk about reducing/increasing his allocation to fixed income. Ask if Thursday at 8 a.m. works for him.
4. Creating Dr. Doe's market review will take me 1.5 hours. I schedule this time tomorrow from 10 to 11 a.m. I need a copy of his last allocation and performance review.
5. Ask our client service associate to call three venues for our quarterly educational client/prospect seminar.
When you cross an important action off your "5 before 11" list, it not only feels good, it's good for you. Doing so can produce dopamine, a biological fuel pump for motivation. Dopamine is one of the neurological reasons that creating and accomplishing your "5 before 11" list is so important.