7 steps to help you get out of the proverbial rut and towards the life you imagine and deserve
It’s so darn easy to let life get away from us—to find yourself a decade or two later stuck in a place you don’t really want to be. Too many demands on our time, playing multiple roles, so many priorities, and inertia, all get in the way of proactively forging a path to living the life we had hoped for.
Of course, we can point to examples all over the place where we feel somewhat stuck: From wanting to lose 10 pounds, to exercising more, to breaking up with a partner, to writing that novel we have always been meaning to. But, it is in the professional arena that I see inertia take hold most often. The result: Self-sabotage of a super talented, smart, and otherwise vibrant person, lost in a vortex of mediocrity.
Working with financial advisors as a recruiter and growth consultant, I see this happen all too often. Trapped by inertia, so many talented folks end up stuck in their own tracks, paralyzed by excuses and plagued by negativity.
Take the independent advisor who has been with his broker dealer for the past 20 years. He’s been largely happy enough, growing at a steady 5-10% annually. But when his BD gets sold – and he finds himself unwittingly in a world of uncertainty – he’s faced with a major decision to make: “Do I stay or do I go?”
Or look at the lifer wirehouse advisor who is generating millions in annual revenue, and managing more than a billion dollars in high net worth client assets. She complains about living with limitations in the ways she can service her clients and dealing with way too much bureaucracy—yet stays put because she is certain that there isn’t a better alternative.
And consider the principal of the $500mm RIA firm who knows he has hit a ceiling in terms of his ability to grow, admits to having no real succession plan, and worries that increased regulatory demands are going to kill his business. Yet he remains stuck in the belief that the solution to all of his problems lies in recruiting the perfect next gen advisor—despite having tried unsuccessfully to do so for more than 5 years.
While there are many who remain stuck, there many more who do not. So how did they break free? What inspired them to take that first step forward that lead them to a bigger leap towards something better? Consider these 7 steps…
- Recognize and acknowledge the frustrations you feel – Even if you choose to do nothing to ameliorate them, still acknowledging that they exist is an important first step.
- Be rigorously self-aware and honest – Listen to your gut, it’s telling you something. Use those feelings to constantly challenge yourself by comparing where you are versus your goals and dreams.
- Decide if the pain of staying put is great enough – For sure, we all feel aggravated from time-to-time even in the most ideal situations, so be discerning. Ask yourself, “Just how frustrated am I?”
- Get educated – With knowledge comes strength, so learn about what else is out there, then compare and contrast what you learn against where you’re at currently.
- Begin with the end in mind – Be clear about where you eventually want to be and decide if the path you are on will lead you there. Is there a way to get there faster, more efficiently, while having more fun?
- Take meetings with other firms and investigate alternative models – You can read all the articles you want to and talk with a million friends and colleagues at other firms, but there is no substitute for forming your own opinion firsthand. Hear the stories yourself and decide if the value propositions are “better enough” for you.
- Be courageous – It takes enormous courage to make any change—to be sure, the path of least resistance is to stay the course. Certainly, change isn’t easy, especially one that would mean working harder and feeling uncomfortable for a period of time. Yet the willingness to shake things up, while scary, is what will enable you to reach your goal.
The author Nora Roberts wrote, “You can’t just hope for happy endings. You have to believe in them. Then, do the work, take the risks.”
Let’s think of this another way: Why should we settle for a life that is anything but spectacular and of our own choosing? Why finish a crappy book? Why sit through a movie that doesn’t captivate you? Why stay on the wrong path? Why limit yourself to the rut that makes you anything but happy?
The reality is that a waterfall of possibilities awaits each and every one of us. But you have to open your eyes and your mind, and you have to actively pursue the path that leads you towards your goals. It’s that active pursuit – and the work and risk it involves – that will enable you to live your best business life.