A four-step process for financial advisors who are feeling the “pain of incongruence.”
Friction. Frustrations. Limitations.
Each are forms of incongruence—signifying a gap between where you are and where you want to be.
If ignored, they can be powerful roadblocks to success.
But when recognized, these “pain points” actually serve a purpose.
- To get our attention—and make us think.
- To assess the level of “pain”—and its impact on the long term.
- To trigger our creativity—and find ways to work through it.
- And, ultimately, to drive us to change—when it makes sense to do so.
Yet many advisors often choose to live with imperfection instead of recognizing it for what it is: That there could be a misalignment between your long-term goals and your ability to achieve them.
The pivotal question remains, “Why?” More specifically, “Why choose to stick with the status quo instead of considering change?”
Because change is hard and following the path of least resistance typically seems easier. That is until you take a “big picture” look at your business and realize the potential negative impact on not just today, but the future as well.
Certainly, it’s easier to ignore the messages around you and allow inertia to drive your destiny—especially when business is good.
But is “good” really enough?
Consider “Samantha,” for example, a Forbes-listed wirehouse advisor with a steadily growing business. She literally seemed to be at the top of her career—yet while she was highly productive, she wasn’t entirely satisfied.
No doubt, while new policies felt onerous and bureaucratic, the reality was that they simply added to the “disconnect” that Samantha was feeling. It was more about the limitations around the ability to serve her high-net-worth clients. That is, to offer them more in the way of concierge services, like bill pay, tax planning, and preparation; the ability to access bespoke private investments; and to shop the Street for best-in-class lending and alternative solutions.
As Samantha began to take a big-picture view of her business, it became apparent that she was heading down a path that would lead her to a less-than-optimal place—a feeling that she ignored until it became too powerful to disregard.
It begged the question: Was the status quo serving her best?
For many top advisors, it’s an awareness that often comes over time. Sometimes it’s in the form of mounting pain and frustrations until the proverbial straw breaks the camel’s back. For others, like Samantha, it’s baby steps toward the realization that while things may be “good enough” for now, the longer-term outlook is very different.
Advisors in both groups have an option. That is, to allow the pain of incongruence to drive them or to take a step back and do the following:
- Acknowledge and honor the feelings this incongruence engenders.
It takes courage to admit that although you may be doing well that things are not optimal. It starts by acknowledging the feelings that come as a result of the imperfections—such as frustration, anger, worry, or loss of control.
- Assess the level of “pain” you’re in.
Not all things that might frustrate you are necessarily created equal. Some are no more than minor annoyances that can – and should – be easily overlooked or worked through. While others, whether individually or in combination, might be much more intolerable. It’s the latter that’s most likely to motivate you to consider change.
- Ask yourself, “What am I meant to learn from this?”
Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts said after losing the Super Bowl, “You either win or you learn.” And to many advisors, the feeling of incongruence can seem like a losing battle. But the reality is that there’s a lot to learn from experiences in which frustration, limitation, or friction rule.
- Determine if there’s anything you can – and should – do about it.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Should you seek to affect change in place OR consider moving on? And this is big. Because it means one of 3 things: Accepting the status quo regardless of the incongruence you might feel; modifying your vision or goals; or exploring your options elsewhere to find a better fit.
Allowing incongruence to drive the bus is the antithesis of what it means to build an extraordinary business that enables you to serve clients to the best of your ability and grow without restraint. And what might be good enough for today might not be good enough for the long-term health of your business.
Ultimately, considering change means believing you are entitled to receive and achieve the very best. And why not?
You can choose to ignore the pain of incongruence or acknowledge those feelings for what they are: Reminders that YOU have ultimate control over your business life.