Is there a mission at the heart of your business?
By BRETT DAVIDSON
I was on the phone with an adviser recently and they were struggling.
They'd lost their mojo.
I asked a few questions.
They told me that if they just carried on as they were, at age 50, they'd hit their personal financial goals at age 55. At that point, they'd be able to stop work and retire.
This is the same adviser who has the most amazing niche business.
The same adviser, who when they talk about their niche and the clients they serve, you get goosebumps.
Because of their origin story. They do this because something bad happened in the past and they wanted to right a wrong. They wanted to try to ensure that no one else would suffer.
That's powerful stuff.
How can someone who cares that much and whose business has the potential to be a whole lot more, lose their mojo?
Can you re-frame this situation?
Elite professional sports people must face this same situation. They struggle for years as a kid and then strive as a teenager until finally, they get the big sponsorship deal or the guaranteed contract that means they’ll never have to worry about money again.
Do these athletes all of a sudden lose their mojo? Now that money will never be an issue again do they stop striving?
Of course not.
But to do that they have to find a reason bigger than money to keep going. Usually, that’s about developing their talents to the full or achieving greatness over an extended period within their sport. Think Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Allyson Felix, or Sir Alex Ferguson. By the end of their careers, they weren’t doing it for the money.
I said to the adviser, “I see you as a young athlete who has just signed a sponsorship deal for £100m with Nike. Money is no longer an issue. Now what?”
The challenge I offered was to move beyond the money. I asked them to consider:
With the skills and experience and talent that you have, what's possible?
How many people might you be able to help if you don't hold yourself back?
What would need to change in you, and in your business set-up, to allow you to achieve this bigger vision?
I could sense them getting excited about the future, but I could also sense some nervousness. They didn’t pose these questions back to me out loud, but I could read the body language:
What if I can't do it?
What if I'm not good enough?
Will this destroy my beautiful lifestyle?
We talked about the unwritten rules (see my blog You Can Be Ambitious Without Destroying Your Lifestyle (Here’s how)). We established that you can make your goals for the future a stretch without risking it all.
The lessons for us all
1. Life's what you make it.
Sometimes you’ve got to dig a little bit to find the ‘meaning’ in your work. And the meaning you find can be completely personal to you. It doesn’t need to make sense to anyone else.
Meaning comes from mindset.
If you want some books to read on this idea, check out:
2. It's what you become, not what you get
A great goal has to be about something that matters to you. It has to excite you.
However, as I’m sure you’ve discovered, getting the bigger house, boat or car will make you happy, although only for about a month.
But the big stretch goal that meant you had to become more to obtain the house, boat or car, that helped you to grow and learn, that’s where the real fulfilment in life comes from.
Life begins outside your comfort zone.
If you want some more on this idea, read:
Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday
3. Sometimes you need to re-set
When I was speaking to the adviser about reaching financial independence by age 55, I could tell it had been a driving force in their life.
And like all goals, when we hit them (or know we’ll hit them), they lose their pull. That was the problem here. They knew they’d do it even if they just carried on in the same vein.
Sometimes you need to set yourself another Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). A BHAG is long-term, at least 10 years, and only about 20% believable, which is almost (but not quite) unbelievable.
I don’t care if you’re only working for another 5 years. Set a 10-year BHAG for your business and get after it. Whoever takes over your business when you retire or sell can finish it off for you – but setting that new stretch goal can totally transform your attitude and enthusiasm.
If you want to blow your mind and re-discover the meaning in your business, try:
The Infinite Game by Ryan Holiday
Focus on the mission
When you focus on the mission you can go further, faster and have more fun than you ever could by chasing the money.
Is it time to re-frame and re-set in your business?
Let me see how you go.
BRETT DAVIDSON helps financial planners take the headache out of running a business, so that they can get back to doing what they love — looking after their clients.
This article was first published on Brett’s blog and is republished here with his permission.
ALSO BY BRETT DAVIDSON
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