Legendary personal and business development philosopher and speaker Jim Rohn often said that "The winds of opportunity blow the same for all of us. The difference that separates the best from the rest is how they set their sails."
As a financial professional, you invest a lot of time with your clients helping them face the future with confidence thanks to your investment planning process. The question is, do you yourself have a plan - both personally and professionally - and have you set specific goals for where you see yourself in the future?
The following is a simple process called W5 that you can use to get your vision for the future out of your head and onto paper, or in a journal. Many advisors have told me that they have used this format as a complement to their goal setting approach with their clients with great results too. It's also very effective to use with kids to get them visualizing a blueprint for the future.
* WHAT are you grateful for? With so much emphasis on the future, it's easy to overlook what we've accomplished to this point in our lives. The elusive goal called "balance" suggests that we be both ambitious and content. Gratitude allows you to savour your accomplishments and fuel your aspiration to higher levels. It's a good place to start and the outcome is a double win.
* Where do you see yourself in the future? - Be all encompassing as you create a wish list. Many people focus just on production and income goals but ultimately make us valuable. It's an important piece of the puzzle but really a means to an end. Write as many items as you can as you go through this step.
* When do you hope to accomplish these goals? Simply walk through your wish list and define them with specific timelines of 6 months, 1, 3 and 5 year goals. Then identify one or two that you feel would have the most profound impact on your life when you achieve it or them.
* Why is this so important to you? This question asks you to drill down and identify the key motivators that will drive you to see past the obstacles and adversity that you will surely face as you strive to achieve your goals.
* Who do I need to become to achieve this? This is heavy question that requires some soul searching. To turn a dream into a reality you'll have to elevate yourself out of your current mold. As the saying goes, "After all is said and done, more is often said than done." The results we'll achieve in 2018 won't change much from 2017 if we don't change. Which leads us to the ultimate reality check:
* How will I accomplish my goals? You'll need an action plan to achieve a breakthrough. We've all fallen into the "Illusion of Skill" that suggested that through talent, perseverance and brute force alone we can accomplish bigger and better things. Without a guidance system though, we tend to drift or spin our wheels and mistake motion for action. If you want to sell your business for maximum value in three years, you'll have to get the business out of your head and your assistant’s head, and create a procedures manual that can lead to predictable, sustainable and duplicable systems that the buyer of your business will pay a premium for. If you want a higher quality and quantity of referrals you'll need a service matrix to ensure the top 20% of your clients get 80% of your attention. If you want to simplify your life, you may need to right-size and lay out a process to disassociate yourself from clients that are not a good fit. That all probably sounds like work to you, but if the "why" is clear and concise, the "how" will get that much easier.
And that is the power of well-rounded goal setting process.