Have you ever walked by a mirror, glanced over and wondered who that person was?
And I’m not just talking about physical appearance. (I could fill a book on my search for my lost youth and good looks.) I’m talking about one of those ‘time stood still and I was looking in on my life from the outside’ moments that forced you to ask the big questions.
- Is this the life and business I envisioned when I was starting out?
- Is this what I thought success would feel like?
That’s ‘The Pause’.
The One Degree Effect
The pause is the result of something I call the One Degree Effect.
The One Degree Effect is the cumulative gap between where you are today and where you thought you would be when you started your business. It’s not necessarily the result of significant (or even conscious) decisions. Rather, it’s the the impact of veering, very slightly, off course over a long period of time.
The easiest way to understand the impact of the One Degree Effect is to think about a plane’s flight path. If a plane flew from New York to San Francisco and was just one degree off its course, it would go one mile off course for every sixty miles flown. That plane would end up 43 miles away from the intended location.
And that’s just one (barely perceptible) degree – 1/360th of a circle.
How Do We Get Off Course?
Our lives are not that different. We start out with a clear focus and are taken off track, slowly and almost imperceptibly. The reasons are often very good, like marriage or children. Sometimes they are internal, like an over-active sense of responsibility or a hit to your confidence. And sometimes they are the result of more tragic circumstances, like illness.
And being off track, doesn’t mean that life is bad in any way. Nor does it mean that the decisions that got you there have been bad; they may, in fact, have been necessary.
But at some point, even the most successful people come face-to-face with the fact that there may be something more – some fleeting glimpse of a business that is both profoundly fulfilling and wildly successful. In my view, those who see that possibility are the ones with a chance of getting to the next level.
To get to the next level, which I would define as achieving Absolute Engagement, we need to re-calibrate, refocus and take action. We need a ‘do-over’.
And it takes extraordinary courage to pause and ask how we can bridge the gap created by the One Degree Effect. Here are a few examples:
- Rita Robbins is the President of Affiliated Advisors. She paused one day to ask how she could do something that would feed her creativity and passion while continuing to run her business. She bought a lavender farm.
- Sue van der Linden is an SVP and Wealth Advisor with Morgan Stanley. She paused one day while having to wake her six-year-old daughter up at 6:30 in the morning so they could make the long trip to her school in time. She sold her house and moved the family closer to the school and the office.
- Jason Butler is a Speaker, Author and Personal Finance Expert. He paused one day and realized that he was driven and energized by educating people. He sold his share in a successful wealth management business and began to build a platform as a speaker and author.
- I paused one day when I realized my new business looked a little too much like my old one; I was stuck in my comfort zone. I knew I wanted to help people achieve Absolute Engagement, so I re-branded my business and found the confidence to admit I wanted to focus on speaking and writing.
Getting Back on Track
If you’re feeling off track, take comfort in the fact that achieving the ideal is an on-going pursuit for all of us. To highlight that fact, I asked a group of over 600 advisors the following question:
Q: Some aspects of our businesses are clearly defined and intentional while others just seem to happen. Thinking about the following, to what extent have you clearly defined each of the following for yourself?
There were five aspects of a business evaluated (see the chart) and four possible responses:
- I have not defined my ideal
- I have defined my ideal but there is a big gap relative to where I am today
- I have defined my ideal and am making significant progress toward making it a reality
- I have both defined and am living my ideal
It’s clear that while many are on the path to something great, few feel they have yet achieved it.
While a majority of financial advisors report being highly personally engaged, there seems to be a disconnect between how that is defined and these practical issues of structuring the business. To what extent have you built your business around your ideal?
- The kinds of clients that energize you and for whom you can do your best work
- Is there a particular type of client (profession, industry or role) with whom you love to work?
- The scope of services that best suits the needs of your ideal client
- Is there particular work that you do (e.g. comprehensive financial planning or complex insurance cases) that makes time fly?
- The kind of work you want to be doing every day
- Do you prefer the technical work to meeting with clients?
- The role you want to play on the team
- Would you prefer to be the strategist and innovator, managing the business rather than clients?
- The environment in which you prefer working
- Is your goal to work from home during the summer or from somewhere else in the world?
If any of these questions get you thinking, just a little, then that’s your ‘pause’. The question is, will you take action?
Thinking about these questions is the first step toward Absolute Engagement. By way of definition:
- Absolute Engagement is characterized by true meaning and significant momentum in your business.
- It’s achieved by aligning personal, client and team engagement.
- There are five steps to get there.
There is a Book on the Way!
In future posts I’ll talk more about each of those five steps. And I’m more than a little excited to share that I’ll be publishing a book later this year that will take you through a step-by-step process to achieve Absolute Engagement.
If you’d like to receive the first chapter and be alerted when it’s out, click here.
Thanks for stopping by,