The life of an independent financial advisor is extremely busy and full. Whether you’re just starting out or enjoying great success, each stage brings a new set of challenges. Long hours and a busy schedule can make it easy to get so wrapped up in your work that you neglect your own happiness and well-being. No matter which stage you are in your career, it is important to make sure that you remain mindful of the habits that play a large role in determining how you feel about your life. Remember, not only do happy people get more enjoyment out of life, they’re more productive, too.
Practice using these 5 habits to keep your happiness levels high:
1. Stay Busy, Not Overwhelmed
Keeping busy can give you a sense of purpose and help you maintain your energy. If you overdo it, however, you’re bound to feel stress, exhaustion, and even burnout. Maintaining the right balance can be tricky, but soon you’ll have a better sense of which commitments to uphold and on which ones to take a pass. Start by committing to only the most important things in both your personal life and professional life. Once you experience the relief, you’ll know whether you can comfortably take on more.
2. Make Others Happy
That old cliche, “the more you give, the more you get in return,” is absolutely true. Study after study shows that people feel great satisfaction from helping others. It can be as simple as remembering to be respectful and kind, even when you’re in a hurry or having a bad day. You might take a moment to cheer someone up when they’re feeling discouraged, or you could elevate your giving and seek a volunteer position for a cause that matters to you. When you reach out to others you realize the benefits of stronger relationships and of creating a sense of community.
3. Be Forgiving
This can be a tough one. Sometimes the last thing we want to do is let go of a grudge. Frankly, holding anger is easier than forgiveness, at least at first. But if you cling to your anger, it will continue to eat away at you. Harboring feelings of resentment will hurt you more than it will hurt anyone else. Do your best to be forgiving for your own sake at a minimum, if not for the other person’s. One final note here: forgive yourself for your mistakes as well. Sometimes as entrepreneurs, we are more critical of our failures and maintain anger with ourselves. Accept the failure, learn from it, and move on.
4. Take Care of Yourself
This mantra bears repeating again and again. Nutrition, sleep, and exercise are the keys to maintaining a healthy body and mind. You won’t be happy if your mind isn’t functioning at its best. No matter how busy you are, make time for regular meals and seven to eight hours of sleep. Exercise doesn’t have to mean long hours at the gym; it could be as simple as taking short walks throughout the day. If you don’t have a fitbit or other activity tracker, now may be the time to step up and get one.
5. Stop Comparing Yourself to the Competition
It’s important to remain competitive and motivated, but spending too much energy worrying about other people’s businesses will only be counter-productive. Focus instead on making your own practice the best it can be. Remember that even when you offer the same service as many other advisors, clients are drawn to personality, style, and many individual attributes that only you can offer. Celebrate others’ successes and wish them well. (Remember the part about making others happy?) With so many people in the world needing financial advice, there’s room for all of us.
While life’s challenges may come in all varieties, the right habits will help you maintain a positive attitude as you weather them. It may take a great deal of practice, but improving your outlook is an important step in making your professional life both more successful and more rewarding. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post with more advice to keep you on the positive side of life!