No one likes to feel “pushed” into making a decision. So how do you turn the tables and regain control of your career?
Like most of us, advisors consider change for a multitude of reasons, yet we find that most of these can be placed into one of two categories: Push or Pull.
The “push” category is built of those things that cause frustration and make us feel out of control. For example:
They changed compensation.
The bureaucracy is killing me.
I lost a client because of the negative press surrounding my firm.
Our technology is weak.
I lost a good client because the firm wouldn’t approve the loan he needed.
The “pulls”, on the other hand, are those things we want or desire, such as:
I want to be a business owner.
I want to build an enduring legacy and grow my practice through recruiting and acquisitions.
I want to monetize my business.
I want to access the additional capabilities that another firm or model offers.
I want to be able to offer my clients a more customized service model and be paid accordingly to do so.
I did a piece a while back that discussed this very topic. In it, I described how pushes can turn into pulls when one key ingredient is present: Opportunity.
Most advisors go through a process that starts with acknowledging the pushes—that is, expressing dissatisfaction about the things that limit them. But, what strikes me is that with so much opportunity in this expanded landscape – and the fact that a quality advisor holds all the cards – is that many get stuck there, living with discontent and bogged down by inaction.
For those braver souls who are willing to take the time and energy to get educated about what change could actually mean, they recognize that something better could lie just beyond the inertia they’ve been living with. Once you start to refocus your thinking upon the more positive pulls, and the potential opportunity they carry with them, a new vision for the future appears and the excitement begins.
Steering your way out of the “Negativity Vortex”
We’ve all been sucked into what we call the “negativity vortex”—that dark place where one is mired in a world of chronic complaining and a feeling of hopelessness. It does nothing but drag you down to where it’s impossible to see a door leading to something better. Yet to be able to refocus and see the negative pushes for what they really are – alerts that signal things need to change – it becomes possible to see the positive pulls that exist.
Advisors that steer their way out of the negativity vortex typically go through a 6-phase process of acknowledging the pushes for what they are, and redressing them into more positive, solution-oriented thoughts instead:
The Anxious Phase – You develop a feeling of discontentment, yet think there might be something better somewhere else.
The Curious Phase – You get curious about other options elsewhere or consider how to affect change by staying put.
The Education Phase – You reach out to recruiters, consultants, colleagues at other firms, and mentors to fill the knowledge gap.
The Self-Awareness Phase – You look to answer the $64,000 question, “What am I really feeling and why?”
The Clarity Phase – You decipher whether the sum total of the pushes and the pulls are enough to warrant disruption to your momentum and the status quo. It’s during this phase that you determine if – based upon what you’ve learned about other options and by comparing them to what you currently have – things could be better enough elsewhere. (Not just marginally better, but truly better enough to move the happiness and professional contentment needle!)
The Action Phase – You develop a plan of action, moving forward elsewhere or staying put with a better design on your future. Either way, you do so with conviction, knowing that you get to choose your future—that is, you aren’t stuck! It’s during this phase that you summon up the courage that will propel you forward.
We all feel pushed at times, but for every push there is a pull—that is, the ability to run towards something better, and not simply away from something bad, or even worse, staying put because it seems there really isn’t anything better.
While the pushes may be the initial impetus for your restlessness, the ultimate decision to stay or go is based upon the pulls. And those pulls cannot be uncovered without some level of soul-searching, self-awareness, and a strategic plan to guide you.
So it’s your choice whether you want to allow your destiny to be pushed in whatever direction it chooses or if you’re willing to do what you need to rise above the negativity vortex and choose the path that the positive pulls guide you towards.