If you regularly attend a worship service, chances are you’ll notice that some people sit in the same spot every week. It’s as if they’re season ticket holders and heaven forbid if somebody arrives early and takes that spot. Sitting in that spot is comfortable. It requires no thinking. It keeps people in their comfort zone. In fact, chances are those season ticket holders know their neighbors. Maybe you’re one of those season ticket holders.
Like the worship service season ticket holders, many advisors are stuck in a pattern that’s keeping them from making new connections and reaching their full potential. Here are five ways to get out of the rut of routine and get your groove back in 2012.
1. Take a different route.
My home sits on the south side of a large oblong circle. I was recently at a neighborhood party and spoke to a woman whose home was on the northeast side of our circle. I complimented her on her beautiful home and she asked which home was mine. I tried to describe it and she had trouble picturing it. Sensing my surprise that she didn’t know where I lived, she said, “I always go around the circle the other way.” I asked her why she never goes on my side of the circle and she said, “It has too many blind spots.”
If you stick to your same route and routine every day, you too will develop blind spots. Instead, take a different route to work. Read a book that’s outside your normal genre. Go see a movie with subtitles at your local independent theater. Attend a workshop that you’ve never been to before. Go to the library and browse for a couple hours. Cold call the five biggest prospects in your town. Do something that shakes your routine, gets you out of your comfort zone and starts firing other synapses in your brain.
2. Think big and act bigger.
Small goals are not exciting. As a kid, nobody dreamed about completing five passes in a high school football game. No, they dreamed about throwing a 50-yard touchdown pass with time expiring to win the Super Bowl in their rookie year. Likewise, you need to set a big goal that inspires and motivates you to great achievement. As David Hawkins wrote, “We expire from lack of that which inspires.” Get inspired!
3. Start marketing in areas where you have a passion.
Instead of just looking for people who have money to invest, start looking for people who have money to invest and share a passion with you. It could be golf, triathlons, jazz music, modern art, or live theater. Start hosting events around those interests or join clubs and organizations that are filled with people who share your passion. To move them from a social connection to a new client, invite them to your client events. Add them to your weekly market commentary list. Drop them a note on something you know would interest them. Stay top of mind. And yes, invite them to meet in your office for a complimentary portfolio stress test or second opinion.
4. Do yoga.
What? Why would I write about yoga in a financial advisor blog? The fact is, your mind can only take you so far in this business. Yoga, in addition to its physical benefits, helps harmonize the connection between your mind and body. Rather than tell you about the benefits, I encourage you to experience them yourself. Make 2012 the year you start a consistent yoga practice (try the “hot” yoga) and I guarantee you’ll see tremendous mental and physical benefits that will carry over to your business.
5. Embrace risk.
Something I take to heart is the idea that the level of meaning in your life will be in direct proportion to the level of risk that you are willing to embrace. I’m not talking about reckless risk, rather, I’m talking about embracing the risks that are holding you back from living a fulfilled life.
If you’re too scared to cold call the five biggest prospects in town as mentioned above, chances are it’s a symptom of your desire to remain comfortably numb (hat tip to Waters and Gilmour). If you find that you’re not willing to take much risk on something, that’s a sign it’s not very meaningful to you.
So, as you contemplate new activities, ask yourself, “How much risk or pain am I willing to endure in order to live or pursue this?” Your answer to that question will help you clarify what is truly important to you. Ultimately, if something is truly meaningful to you, you will automatically do the work that is necessary to live and fulfill that value. If it’s family, you will make time for them. If it’s your faith, you’ll live it and breathe it. If it’s your business, you will do the work necessary to build it into something of great value.
Follow through on these five ideas and 2012 will be the year that your life and business go from good to great.
Steve Sanduski, CFP®, is the Managing Partner of Peak Advisor Alliance, a financial advisor coaching and practice management resources organization. He is also a New York Times bestselling author and co-author of, Tested in the Trenches: A 9 Step Plan for Building and Sustaining a Million-Dollar Financial Services Practice. To learn more, visit, http://www.peakadvisoralliance.com/ and http://www.truewealthcommunity.com/.