The Most Important Question for Your Advisory Business

It’s Olympic trials season. Dreams of going to the Olympics are coming true or being crushed, with the difference often being mere hundredths of a second.

Last week while speaking in Atlanta to 120 advisors, swimming trials were being held, and many asked me what makes the split-second differences – is it a particular training exercise, diet, or rest? What separates those who will go on to make history from the other competitors? What’s the one thing that matters most?

In fact, there is no one particular item or activity that separates the top two finishers (who each earn an Olympic berth) from the rest. However, they do all share the same specific thought process which is crucial for their success.

Every action, activity, and response is weighed against a very simple question: Will this help or hinder? They evaluate, “Will this move me closer to my goal or impede my progress?”

You can use the same thought process in your business. Be like the champion athletes who choose to do only those activities that help them move toward the success they desire. This process will lead you to develop conviction for doing everything you need to do correctly and conscientiously. Like the athletes, you don’t necessarily need to aim for perfection, but do pursue mastery of what you do.

This mindset eliminates distracting thoughts that can pull you off track, such as, “This isn’t the best use of my time right now, but if I only do it once, it’ll be ok in the grand scheme of things,” or, “While this won’t especially help, it won’t really hurt me that much,” or, “Just this one time…”

The most successful athletes (and advisors) simply hunt for the best, most effective activities and then pursue them, making them into consistent habits.

What activities do you need to begin doing consistently to help move you toward success in your business?

  • Is it conscientiously implementing a disciplined follow-up process after each meeting where your meeting notes are entered into your CRM system immediately, instead of leaving it on a loose piece of paper on your desk – or worse, simply in your mind – over the next two days?
  • Is it planning and calendaring regular client contact activities, so they know when to expect to hear from you and you don’t let contact opportunities slip through the cracks?
  • Is it finally committing to using model investment portfolios so you’re allocation rationale is consistent for all of your clients and not swayed by clients who want you to customize your process for them?
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    To mimic the behavior of successful people:

  • Carefully and honestly evaluate current routine actions and habits. Is how you regularly use your time and energy moving you closer to or further away from your final objective?
  • Develop key, core habits necessary to achieve your objective. Make a conscious decision to implement three or four helpful, professional actions and resolve to repeat them until they become habits.
  • Minimize distractions that impede your progress. Easier said than done, right? Start by setting realistic boundaries and achievable short term goals. For example, if you live on email and want to reduce the habit, begin by checking it only every 30 minutes.
  • Keep asking yourself will this help or hinder my progress toward my goal? Choose what helps, every time.