Your vision for success is a personal decision that shouldn’t ride the roller coaster of up and down markets. Being engaged is all about developing and maintaining a passion for your clients, your career and your personal interests. It requires a steady commitment to your vision through both the good times and the tough times.
- Don’t let your ego (or a bull market) overinflate your view of current or future success. Engaging in a vision for the future is not a one-time event; it isn’t a static activity. As your business evolves, your vision may take different shapes. But you cannot allow yourself to be overly influenced by outside factors. When things are going well, don’t take all the credit. Be honest with yourself; don’t extrapolate short-term revenue bubbles into projections for unsustainable long-term growth rates.
- Expect the unexpected; bad things usually happen when we least expect them. If you’re truly engaged in a vision for the future, you consider the unthinkable. You ask yourself if your view of the future will stand up to the test of time — tough times. You consider how you’ll feel if your income is down, your clients are disadvantaged by a market crash, you lose a critical teammate or if you have to log a lot more hours in the office.
- Think about the way you manage your client relationships. As you help your clients plan for the future, you try to keep it real. You don’t make college, retirement or estate projections without considering the probability of market selloffs. Asset allocation models assume that bad times will accompany good times. This same logic and discipline should apply to your business planning as well as your vision for the future.
- Know where to go if you need some guidance or reassurance. Seek straight forward, experienced counsel to avoid making decisions in a vacuum. In both good times and bad, you need to have someone who is engaged in your vision for the future — a sounding board. Whether it’s with a business partner, a spouse, a mentor or a coach, you should be willing to share your innermost thoughts.
- Never forget the importance of your work. As a financial professional, you’re engaged in a career that makes a big difference to your clients’ long-term well-being. When your ethics are in place, your vision needs to incorporate the significance of your profession. Don’t allow industry critics, lousy managements or misplaced regulatory scrutiny diminish the value of what you do for your clients everyday.
- Create your vision for success. Your vision needs to encapsulate more than your business. When you’re engaged in a visioning process, it’s easy to get caught up with standard industry metrics like fee-based revenues, commissions, assets under management or the size of your team. But your vision should include more than these sometimes uncontrollable financial measurements. Consider how your vision relates to things like client loyalty, community involvement, time with your family or your personal freedom.
Reality check. Sure, during rough periods you may lose a key client or experience a significant drop in income, but these temporary setbacks alone shouldn’t diminish your overall view of success.
Remember market altitude does not have to impact your attitude.
In tough markets you may have to spend even more time with your clients, but the long-term payoff that comes from increased loyalty and referrals could be a measure of success. When revenues are down you may need to delay a major hiring decision, but the bonus of strengthening the effectiveness of your current team could result in a new levels of productivity. Although markets will experience roller coaster ups and downs, your business guided by a strong and clear vision can be set to handle any twist, turn, or loop that comes your way.