Advisors: Specifics Matter More Than Control

Focusing on what you can’t control is just a waste of time and energy. 

Last week I spoke about how unpredictable this year has been, but that can’t get in the way of planning for next year. You need to be laying down these plans, and getting excited, about what you want to achieve by December 31 next year. I had great feedback from some advisors, and I want to go a little deeper here.

We can’t control a myriad of things: we can’t control interest rates, we can’t control what’s happening with inflation, we can’t control the political climate. We can’t control a host of things that can actually impact our results, but nevertheless, that doesn’t get in the way of us writing down what we’d love to achieve.

Oftentimes, we don’t get asked that, but I want you to consider, what is it you want to achieve by December 31 next year, regarding your business? How many financial plans do you want to write? How many new A-clients, regarding net revenue generated, do you want to bring onboard? How many Centers of Influence do you want to be working with and have new relationships with? The fact that we can’t control everything going on around us doesn’t stop us from specifically planning with the metrics that we know we need to measure and monitor.

So much is out of our control. Even as Olympic athletes, when we would fly into the city two weeks before we competed, we were there early enough to get used to the competition venue we were going to be racing in. So it was really important we got the maximum amount of time [at the venue]. Often times, within those two weeks, we would get to the pool only to learn that there was no lane space because the decision had been made last night, that a bigger team who had arrived into town [would be given the space at that time.] Since New Zealand had a small team, we were [the ones] getting moved to a pool 50 miles away. So get back on the bus, enjoy your trip, and you’re going be working out in a new pool. It was [inevitably] some rinky-dink college pool that had no bearing on the venue we were going to be racing in. I’d watch younger team members on that bus get so wound up. They’d be fuming! They’d be frustrated that something like this had happened, and we were not given a heads up about it. There were so many things out of our control as Olympic athletes, but I never let that get in the way of staying focused on exactly what I wanted: a two-minute swim on September the 22nd, on race day. That was it. Nothing got in the way. The specifics were in place.

So, to give yourself the best chance of success on December 31 next year,

  1. Write down your objectives. Get specific with what you want to have achieved by December 31 next year.
  2. Step back and take a look at these metrics that you want to be achieving for next year.
  3. Break it down. Don’t get daunted by it. Yes, there might be some big numbers—16 financial plans in a year, when you might have only written 11 this year— but don’t be daunted by that. Just break it down. If you want 16 by year-end, that means four a quarter. Four is quantifiable: that’s four in 90 days. Where am I going to get these four from?

Get excited about what you decide to achieve. Take some time to think about how succeeding in your goals is going to feel. But know, it is only going to happen if you get very, very specific.

Always remember that when things don’t go your way one week, unlike the Olympic athlete who has to wait possibly another four years, you have the very next week to come back and take another shot at it. And ultimately remember, when you are taking another shot at it, when you are looking to achieve excellence within your business, you’re not going to be standing in front of 16,000 people wearing only [a skimpy Speedo swimsuit]. You’re far less exposed than any Olympic swimmer will ever be.

So get confident about what it is you want to achieve, get excited about how it’ll feel once you achieve that, and then set about recognizing, what do I need to be doing come January the second, next year?

Related: Advisors Need To Tell Their Clients What To Do