Focus on what matters most to succeed
Advice Processes & Practice Management & Strategy

Focus on what matters most to succeed

May 23, 2022

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

Focus.  It is one of the most noticeable differences between those who are successful, and those who are frustrated.  The ability to focus on what matters most is often what separates the two.


It is hardly surprising either given that it is definitely harder to be a successful financial adviser today than even just a couple of years ago.  It is even harder still to keep life in balance while being a successful adviser: the demands on an advisers time are greater than ever before, and the non-revenue-generating activities which are expected continue to mount exponentially.


It is very easy for things to spiral out of control and for advisers to find themselves filling out forms and creating records and “managing stuff”, rather than actually advising anyone.  Or running the business of trying to operate a profitable business.  It’s easy to forget to have a life outside of those things.

So we need to know what to focus on….and what to leave….if we are to be both “successful” and also have some “work-life balance”.  It is important to note that I am assuming here that you do not want to simply continue throwing more and more hours into being at work – that sort of kills the “work-life balance” concept really.


It might be relatively easy to produce an exhaustive list of management areas or adviser functions at this point that readers could use as a checklist, although I think it is more helpful to FOCUS on the question which will help you understand what matters most.


Does this (task/project/thing) help me “get the job” or “do the job”?

Spend 80% of your time on the things that help you get the job as an adviser, or do the job as an adviser.  Let “stuff” consume the other 20% by all means.  But get focused primarily on what matters: getting clients onboard and then providing advice to them.


That is the advisers job.  In an ideal world everything that is not associated with getting a client engaged and then formulating and delivering advice to them would not be done by the adviser.  That other stuff would be someone else’s job.  The world is not ideal however, so some “stuff” inevitably lands on the adviser to do which is not a core function of delivering advice to people who want or need it.


The secret to being successful as an adviser – having lots of satisfied paying clients – while also have a life that you like with the right proportion of work & play is to gain clarity about what the important things are in your work.   Do the stuff that matters, and let the rest wait until time is not an issue.  If you are doing enough of the stuff that matters and obtaining the level of success you want then it is a relatively straightforward matter to pay someone else to do the other stuff that is not your core focus.  Until you have enough money to do that, focus on the two things that will ensure you do: getting the job, and, doing the job. 


Focus on the tasks and activities that help you get clients onboard.  Focus on the business of delivering advice to them.


Get some balance back into your business activities, and you will get the balance you want in your life as well.

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