While this job has been fascinating and interesting for all 16 years I’ve done it, the past 12 to 18 months have probably been some of the most interesting in my career. Here’s why: I’ve gotten to know successful advisors even better than I already knew them.
I already knew that part of their success is that they care about people, but it’s also because of their drive and that they’ve always been growth-minded. Most of them had goals like becoming a one-billion-dollar firm.
But lately, I’m hearing from advisors some variation of, “I’m tired. I just want to focus on what I really like to do. I don’t want to do some of the stuff that I need to do to grow.”
It’s like life is wrestling with their DNA. Their DNA is saying, “You’re this driven entrepreneur – you’ve got to keep growing.” But life is taking over.
Maybe the same thing is happening to you. You’ve been through COVID, you’ve watched people pass away. Many of us, because of our ages, have watched our parents pass away. You’ve watched your business get to a valuation you never thought it would get to. All of these things are wrestling with your DNA. Many of you might be saying, “I think my vision has changed.”
I suggest you listen to life. Identify what you’re really passionate about. What do you really want to do? How do you want to spend the next 20 to 35 years?
Talk to someone you trust – your coach, friends or colleagues. Maybe you may determine you don’t need to be a one-billion-dollar firm anymore and it’s time to find a good successor or pull back the throttle and make less money.
I’m not somebody who has all the answers today, but I am somebody who will tell you it’s OK that you’re starting to ask these questions. These are healthy questions to ask. And I know that these are blessings masquerading as problems – first-world problems – but problems that need to be solved nonetheless.
It’s likely that you’re grateful for this success, but you might also feel a tinge of guilt when you look back on how you’ve been successful in the face of all that’s happened these past two-and-a-half years.
Hopefully, this article can provide some guidance on how to explore what to do when your life is wrestling with your DNA.
Figuring Out if Your Vision Has Changed
Blueprinting isn’t a one-and-done process. It’s something to explore whenever you face challenges or your circumstances change. You should explore it periodically – perhaps even annually. You change, your goals change, your circumstances change and perhaps so does your vision.
A few things to keep in mind when Blueprinting. First, Blueprinting should be about a three-week process because it takes time. You should really dedicate a whole weekend to it and then come back and revisit. Go to a place where you think best and then go through the process. Then set it aside for a week or so and then come back and review it. And second, focus on that progress – not perfection.
Catholics always joke about being “practicing Catholics.” We’re practicing being Christlike – we’re never going to be perfect. We’re human, but we’re going to practice anyway.
I think about making progress, not being perfect. I’m not going to let perfection stop me from being better. Tomorrow, I’m still going to be imperfect, but I’ll be a little bit less imperfect.
If you go to a yoga workout and you can’t do all the poses just right, but you spend an hour, do you waste an hour? No! That was still a good hour! You made progress at something. Employ that same attitude with Blueprinting.
In addition, you can determine whether your vision has changed by asking yourself a few questions, like the following:
- How do I get up in the morning? Do I have to set the alarm, or do I fly out of bed the way I used to? That tells you something.
- Do I go home tired, or do I go home saying, “Wow, this was a great day!”
- Am I in alignment? Do I say I value certain things, but my time is being allocated to other things?
- Have the things I valued most changed? When you were 40, maybe building a business was a top priority, but it might not be anymore. Take me for example – early in my life, I didn’t have a bunch of cute grandkids, but now I do. I’ve changed.
- Have I acknowledged that my priorities and passions have changed?
- Have I actually sat down and got a valuation for my business? Some of you never thought your business would be worth this much. Maybe you said years ago that if your business got to X amount, you’d be done, and now you’re actually above that amount. That doesn’t mean you have to be done, but it does mean you can explore whether you need to change your vision.
Those can be a handful of questions, and you can work through the answers with your coach.
Homing In on Alignment
Among those questions, perhaps one of the most important is the question about alignment. Are you in alignment and allocating the time you have to the things you value most?
Just exploring how you get out of bed in the morning can tell you something valuable. Do you wake up daydreaming about the day ahead? Or do you find you’re not as excited as you used to be?
If you find you’re excited to get out of bed for some things – say, a fishing trip – but you’re not excited to get out of bed for other things – like a day at the office – you may just be out of alignment. But if you’re having a hard time getting out of bed for everything, that might indicate a deeper issue you might need help with.
Some people are probably depressed and need help, especially after the few years we’ve had. The world is more reflective today than at maybe any other time in humanity. We had a once-in-a-100-year plague. We saw a million-plus Americans die of COVID. Now we have a war going on. The world right now – climate issues, hunger – is causing people to be reflective and think about things.
You’re at this place in your life where you have all these blessings that you’re grateful for, but you might feel guilty that you’ve done so well because in this period of struggle and unemployment, you have this business that’s worth more than you ever thought it would be and you’re at a crossroads searching for a new vision.
That’s where the Blueprinting and working one-on-one with your coach are needed. We’re asking these questions and finding we’re not in alignment, and at some level, the pandemic has pointed out that maybe we weren’t in alignment to begin with. Maybe we found we really do like our grandkids more than we like our business, but we were too focused on work.
The world woke up here the last 18 months or so and said, “I’ve been so busy with my head down just going to work every day and going through the motions, I haven’t really been thinking about life. And now I’ve started thinking, ‘Wow, I’ve got stuff I’ve got to change.’”
Fundamental or Foundational Change?
You’ve identified that something needs to change, and while some people are going to end up tweaking things and making tactical shifts – like moving to a different department, working remotely or working fewer hours – some might end up making more significant changes.
You’ll likely examine whether the change you need to make is fundamental (more tactical) or foundational (strategic). Deciding to pull back the throttle and earn less money is a fundamental shift, but deciding you’re going to quit your job and become a nun is a foundational strategic shift. Some people are going to simply pull back, while others are going to jump into a whole new vehicle.
Not everybody needs to make grandiose changes. Some of you will make big changes, some small changes, but either way, you need to decide whether these changes are going to make you feel more fulfilled, purpose-driven, at peace and grateful.
Do what your chest tells you. But in order to do that, you have to spend some time listening to yourself. You have to be intentional. You’re the only one who’s going to come up with the best answer for you, but you have to have that conversation and listen to yourself.
If you need help on your journey, be in touch with your coach. And if you don’t have a coach, this crossroads you’re at is the perfect place to connect with one.