It’s goal setting season. This bodes well for financial advisors as many prospective clients spring from the sidelines in January to get the help they need. While I am confident you’ve set your own goals for the year, both professionally and personally, can you summarize what you want for the year in one word?
Beyond goal setting to find clarity
In The New York Times -Well newsletter yesterday, journalist Tara Parker-Pope shared the concept of a word of the year, an exercise she first learned about from Kelly McGonigal : What is one word that encapsulates your values and intentions for the year that will help you get more out of 2022?
As a marketing coach and consultant, I am no stranger to goal setting concepts, exercises and philosophies. However, I found this particular assignment challenging, yet invigorating. I talked about it with my husband after reading the article, pondered a few ideas….but they felt too forced. No surprise, once I slept on it, I had my word: present.
Getting the most out of 2022
As an established business owner and mother of two teenagers, I feel the constant tug of work vs. family (vs. me time vs. spouse time). I am fortunate and grateful that the past two years have been strong for my business. I’ve had the opportunity to help many financial advisors and RIAs solidify their marketing throughout the pandemic through my CMO and coaching services. Of course my goal setting for the year includes continuing to deliver value on the business front.
This school year, after “losing” last year, I have become acutely aware that my time with my children home is short. There are a limited number of high school events/milestones remaining. My son Danny is a high school junior, and I can feel the clock ticking until we’re packing up for college. Parker, my daughter, will enter high school next year, and the impending empty nest sits on the horizon.
Trying to put aside goal setting to encompass the essence of a word was not easy. But it feels right.
Here’s my reason for choosing ‘present’:
As someone who has actively managed my anxiety for decades, I know I can spiral downward as soon as I hear myself say, “What if?” The last two years presented that challenge at unyielding rates, especially related to my children and the experiences they were missing. When I stay in the present moment, anxiety melts. This applies in all aspects of my life.
As I mentioned above, I know my teens are on their path to independence. It is easy to get caught up in future drama (e.g. college application process) or mourning the loss of what they missed last year. When I stay present I enjoy what we have and what they are doing right now.
Example: Danny had a wrestling match the other day. About a third of the team is out with positive Covid tests. Anytime I started projecting to what could happen with Omicron, or thinking, if only he had been able to wrestle last year and build more experience, I brought myself back to “he is doing this right now and you’re here. Hooray!”
Take the right actions now
A clear future vision motivates me. I am personally and professionally driven by crafting a vision of what I want and then working toward it. I set desired mid-term and long-term outcomes and draw energy from the future to take action today. It’s one of the reasons I enjoyed doing financial planning — helping clients focus on what they want — and why I am drawn to coaching.
Sometimes the gap between the tomorrow’s desire and today’s reality can cause frustration, dissatisfaction or inertia in the present (and in the worst case, intense anxiety). Because I am living in the future state in my mind, it can stop me from executing the tedium in the present.
However, when I connect the dots and see that the tiny action I take today sets me in the direction I want to go, I follow through. Hence, ‘present.’
Ironically, I have no trouble helping advisors focus on today’s actions for tomorrow’s results. Is it because I understand all too well how easy it is to get derailed when you step out of the present? Perhaps so. I won’t worry about figuring that out. Not today. I am presently focused on publishing this post.
Want to go beyond goal setting to find clarity on your marketing? Stuck on which actions to prioritize each day, week or month? I invite you to have a conversation with me. One focused discussion can illuminate a path or at least a few next steps. Bonus points if you share your one word!