Let’s take a brief trip down memory lane.
What was your last major accomplishment? You know, that big goal you set for yourself, the one that made you worried because it was so ambitious, but you achieved it through dedication and a lot of hard work? Maybe it was a professional goal, or running a marathon, losing weight, or a host of other meaningful achievements. Regardless, I’m sure it makes you feel good simply reflecting on it.
Now, think about all the sacrifices you made in order to achieve this lofty goal. Consider how you felt during this journey, the changes you made to your regular routine, and how often you made yourself uncomfortable. My guess is that it was both difficult and exciting, and that your goal-oriented activities assisted you in quieting that universal, unpleasant voice of doubt as a result of your well-deserved accomplishment. Your personal and professional progress increased, and your self-esteem rose as a result of this important milestone.
What I just walked you through is commonly known as the achievement cycle. Everyone has activated it at some point in their lives. You set an ambitious goal and did what’s necessary to make it happen. Sounds simple, right? While the achievement cycle may be straightforward, it isn’t always easy.
The key is having both professional and personal goals. This will not only prevent you from burning out, but it will also help you become a more complete person. We all know people who are myopically focused in one direction. For example, a cycling acquaintance of mine was extremely disciplined towards his craft. He would set cycling goal after cycling goal. However, he soon wore himself out by concentrating completely on his cycling improvement. Unfortunately he hit a wall. Due to his cycling focus, he’d never set professional objectives and, as a result, had a lackluster career.
Recently, I was on a conference call with a senior executive from a major firm discussing a comprehensive training program we had been chosen to conduct for their advisors. The training program focused on marketing. During our talk, I highlighted that our research reveals one attribute that distinguishes elite advisors: the practice of reactivating their achievement cycle on a regular basis, both professionally and personally.
Elite advisors think ahead to their next challenge as they close in on their current goal. The result is that they develop the habit of engaging their achievement cycle in all aspects of life. Most people tend to take a break after achieving a goal and unwittingly hit the pause button on their achievement cycle. For them, their achievement cycle never develops into a continual habit.
This got me thinking: in the midst of a frantic 24/7 news cycle, these “dog days of summer” have created the ideal opportunity for advisors to revisit their achievement cycle; set professional and personal goals, determine activity patterns, and reactivate.
Are you stumped as to where to begin? You can get started in five easy steps…
Step 1: Recall a Past Achievement
As you take this journey down memory lane, review your activity patterns in as much detail as possible. What did you do in order to achieve your goal? As you recall each activity pattern, recollect your thoughts as you worked towards each goal. Remember your feelings along the way, how, through doing activity linked to your goals, your self-esteem was strengthened and you felt better about yourself.
Step 2: Establish a BIG Professional & Personal GOAL
Regarding your professional goal, you might think in terms of client acquisition or new assets, as that’s most common amongst elite advisors. Your personal goal should also be something both meaningful and challenging. Each of these BIG goals should be accompanied with a BIG reward upon accomplishment.
Step 3: Create Your Activity Pattern
This is where the “rubber meets the road.” When done correctly, your activity pattern drives the dream, silences doubt, boosts self-esteem, and ultimately leads to goal attainment. Think quality over quantity when it comes to the tasks that make up your activity pattern. For instance, sourcing a name a day during a simple conversation with one of your top 25 clients is a high-quality activity. Getting introduced to that person is another high-quality professional activity. Running for 45 minutes at lunch might be your activity as you begin to train for a marathon or work towards losing weight. The key is to clearly determine the activities linked to achieving your goal. Keep in mind, your activity patterns are likely to change over time as you get closer and closer to achieving your goal.
Step 4: Execute
Set a date for when you’ll begin implementing the activity patterns you created for your professional and personal goals. The secret is adhering to your activity pattern regardless of what you might be thinking at the time or how you’re feeling regarding the execution of a particular activity.
Step 5: Reactivate Achievement Cycle
As you begin to close in on either goal, establish your next BIG goal and accompanying activity pattern. This will ensure that you’re reactivating your achievement cycle. It’s important to keep in mind that this reactivation should be both personal and professional. We all need that balance.
By following these steps and consciously reactivating as I’ve outlined, I’ve found that you’ll establish the one key habit that sets elite advisors apart — you’ll be living in your achievement cycle.