Comparison can fuel the Compare and Despair Cycle. We’d add that for most folks, there is a third step, Compare, Despair and Repair. That third step can be the one that leads you towards pursuing someone else’s goals. For those with an entrepreneurial spirit who find themselves falling short, the despair of that can be overwhelming, yet fuel a push to “fix it.”
Most financial advisors chose their current profession for a reason, though some might have had a sense of drift over the last few years. And who can blame them? The last five years have been like a dust storm, obliterating any boundaries of where we’d come from. And where we had planned to go? Well, after all that dust and debris, we could hardly remember our goals. You might be simply happy to just survive. And in the financial world, success is often measured in other people’s numbers and the progress on their plans. If you’ve lost sight of your own plans in all the chaos, here are a few tips to get back on track. So dust off the debris and read on.
First, treat yourself like your most important investor. Entrepreneurs and start-up geniuses recommend clear, honest and frequent communication as the best method to manage expectations. In a business setting, this maintains the investor’s original enthusiasm for your company and their support over time. As to your own success and plans, it keeps you honed in on which niche you want to pursue and critically, why you want to pursue it. Many suggest a habit of putting these check ins on your plan in writing.
Second, throw away comparison without metrics. Comparison can fuel what Psychology Today author calls the Compare and Despair Cycle. We’d add that for most folks, there is a third step, Compare, Despair and Repair. That third step can be the one that leads you towards pursuing someone else’s goals. When you compare your business or career to a colleague, you naturally gloss over the differences between you and that colleague. And for those with an entrepreneurial spirit who find themselves falling short of the colleague, the despair of coming up short can be overwhelming, yet fuel a push to “fix it.” That drive to repair whatever shortcoming you see in your end of the comparison can fuel you to take steps in your business that aren’t based on our own choices.
Instead, suggests that Pyschology Today article, when you do find yourself comparing your business to another’s you might try to acknowledge your envy. Digging into what sparked the conflict of your emotion can help you know what drives you. Is it the luxury of excess income that makes you feel secure? The idea of a full client roster so you can do less business development? Harnessing the power of envy over comparison can help you stay on track for your own goals. You might also try comparing yourself to where you were one year ago, rather than to a colleague. But again, focus on metrics, not emotion. Do you have more clients? More assets under management? More visibility? Comparison may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but it can help show where your expectations may be unreasonable or unrealistic. Benchmarks can show how you are performing and where it might need improvement. Find your benchmarks before you rate your performance on goals as subpar.
Third, make the Unknown Known. Knowing your own expectations that are clear and focused helps you stay with them when that need to compare (and possibly despair) comes up. This includes making those goals quantifiable, as in concrete hard numbers. It’s harder for you to think you aren’t meeting your expectations if you can point to specifics rather than a general sense of malaise.
Get religious about your numbers. Updating your company’s metrics regularly helps establish benchmarks. And focus on where you focus. Is your attention drawn to a specific area? If so, that area needs attention whether you can say why or not. Anything that keeps your attention, just like with comparison with others, may point you to your own goals and your own idea of success.
Before leaping into the unknown, we recommend a thorough examination of your plan. Because we are experts in the field, we know the marketplace and know what your existing vendor is capable of offering. Through this examination, we can help you optimize the service you receive.get xpress proposal