Our industry is special in many ways, but perhaps the most highly rewarding part is that we have the opportunity to make a positive, far-reaching impact in the lives of our clients and their loved ones.
However, with it also being highly competitive and fast-evolving, in order to make this potentially profoundly beneficial impact for as many clients as possible – and simultaneously to grow our businesses – I believe there is one fundamental that all advisers need to remember: if you kill time, you murder success.
I was recently invited to give a TED talk on this subject and started by inviting the audience to focus on a number.
It was 86,400, which is the number of seconds in a day – seconds we will never get back once gone. We all have the same amount every day to use, however we wish.
But those seconds run down quickly. Time disappears.
We know that over a 75-year lifespan, on average we spend 25 years asleep, five years trying to get to sleep, five years eating, 11 years watching television and 13 months sitting on the toilet. This shows us that we also have an expiry date. It teaches us that we need to respect and be appreciative of time. It is our most important resource.
Successful people are the ones who put good habits and actions into place now; they do not wait around for tomorrow. There is urgency and momentum in their professional practices.
Taking action on a consistent basis will set you apart. I am not necessarily referring to the major actions like setting up a new office in a different city, but rather the smaller ones that build up over time. It is like the compounding effect of interest on savings – something about which we always speak to our clients.
For example, taking 30 minutes each day to hone your skills by learning about new regulations, studying for formal industry qualifications, or deep-diving into how geopolitical issues can affect your clients’ portfolios, will help you become more authoritative and knowledgeable and, therefore, can help more clients reach their long-term financial goals and improve our businesses.
We are all on a success journey, and at each stage of this journey, we need to make sure we are good with our time.
First stage is to have a goal, which needs to be something exciting and have a good ‘why’ attached to it. The goal also has to have some sort of deadline, as without one, it is simply a pipe dream.
The next stage is the leap, where we just have to realise there is no perfect time – it is all about progress, not perfection. This is where we commit to going all in, where we make some sacrifices. It is always good to have some accountability in there, too, as most of us tend to work better with it.