This is the time of year when we tend to note our accomplishments, take stock of our shortfalls and set our sights on the year ahead.
As we note the gaps we’re experiencing, we use this information to dictate the personal resolutions and business goals we set for the coming year.
This process of reflection begins long before the goals are set, starting in our minds long before we sit down to make our plans. For most humans, this is a highly critical process that drives our desire to be, have, do and achieve more.
While this can be the time of year we celebrate all our achievements and awesomeness as we set goals that stretch us in positive ways, if we’re honest, it tends to be the time of year when we hold ourselves accountable in the worst of ways.
As we reflect on the year, we tend to judge ourselves harshly, focus what we could and should have done differently, compare ourselves to others, feel the need to compete, win and prove in the year ahead, and generate a laundry list of tasks to make sure we account for all that lack.
I’ve learned that business plans aren’t won or lost in the planning, but with us as people. Whether our plans fail or succeed is decided in the battlefield of our minds. We can write down new goals, but when we doubt our value and worth, discount our fees, take clients that don’t meet our profile, do work for free, don’t charge enough, don’t hire the right staff and don’t build efficient systems along the way, those goals are much harder to achieve.
Plans fall flat if we lose focus, chase shiny things and fail to follow through. We can’t hit that next level if we don’t choose the right priorities, and we can’t complete them if we don’t take charge of our time.
So many of the conversations I have with advisers about the “more” they want to create are driven by expectations they have of themselves that they are not meeting, rather than by a compelling desire (and belief in their ability to) create a wildly successful practice that delivers deep value to clients while creating the income, time and freedom they desire.
As you kick off your business planning, here are three questions you can ask yourself, along with some insights from this column to help you get clear on the outcomes and experiences you really want to create with those business plans:
1. How can I deliver deeper value to clients? This isn’t a question intended to add to your meeting length or volume of papers presented. This is about knowing what you do, the value you add and how you can deliver that value with confidence. You can’t achieve your goals if you continuously compromise your value. Start by positioning yourself as a trusted adviser, get good at defining your value, and have fee and referral conversations to help you convey your value more confidently.
2. How can I run a more excellent practice? It doesn’t matter how much value you add if you don’t have a reliable, efficient system for delivering that value in a sustainable, profitable way over time. This means realizing that being a good financial adviser is not enough, having pricing that’s profitable, securing a steady growth strategy, radically rethinking your client experience and making the most of your time.
3. How I can I enjoy the ride and grow the rewards? The best part about running an advisory practice is that if you do one and two above well, it’s a career that truly allows you to enjoy the ride and rewards of income, time and the freedom to enjoy it. When you learn that success is a state of mind; that our head trash is what really holds us back; and when you start doing the energy-creating work you most enjoy, you start shifting your thinking and tactics in ways that accelerate your success.
This year, rather than start with a list of gaps that you fill with big goals, I invite you to start with a list of lessons you’ve learned, the questions above and the insights I’ve included. Now, as you set your goals for next year — rather than through the lens of lack and all that you need to do to measure up — ask yourself what incredible experience you want for yourself, your clients and your team. Then, simply ask yourself, “What will it take to make that happen?”
You just might be surprised at how much simpler it is to define the goals you want to achieve (and then the specific plans and tactics you will take) when you’re really clear on the outcome and the experience those goals will create for you.
This year, my invitation is to reframe your business planning process — to begin with the end in mind. You’ll find this not only feels better, but you’ll show up more positively for your goals and experience along the way, and you will accelerate toward your outcomes because your why will be crystal clear and your plans will be driven by purpose.
Stephanie Bogan is a high-performance practice coach and founder of Limitless Advisor coaching. Join her Dec 7 for How to Build a $1M Practice & Life You Love, or visit www.limitlessfa.life to join get Stephanie’s Monthly Mojo Mail with actionable insights and resources to support your success. You can reach Stephanie at [email protected].
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.