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Pushing Past the Upper Limit Problem

Have you ever wondered why you are not consistently having record-setting years? Oftentimes while coaching financial advisers and insurance agents, I have noticed specific behavioral patterns that kick in soon after individuals have experienced success.

the-big-leapGay Hendricks, the author of the book The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level has coined a term for this that he refers to as “the upper limit problem”—which he defines as the amount of success that you are willing to allow yourself to have.

Here is how it works: We all have an “inner thermostat” that is set on just how much success we are willing to allow ourselves to have before we do something to self-sabotage and get back to our comfort zone. Unfortunately, most people don’t know their thermostat’s setting, much less a process for inching to a higher setting.

How to Reset Your Inner Thermostat and Resolve Your Upper Limit Problem
Hendricks said that in order to get to the next level, you cannot solve the problem that is holding you back; rather you need to resolve the problem by gaining a new level of awareness about it. Let’s take a look at the four main zones that he refers to that explains where people get stuck.

The Zone of Incompetence. One of the most common zones that I’ve seen advisers and agents revert to when they start to experience success is The Zone of Incompetence, which refers to spending time doing activities we are clearly not good at. Take for instance the last time you were having a record month: as the days went on did you find yourself doing activities that your assistant could be doing? If so, it was most likely because you were self-sabotaging your time by not doing activities that could have contributed to your continued level of success.

The Zone of Competence. Let’s say that you are great at doing what should be your assistant’s activities, you’ve done them for years and you find yourself saying things like, “Well, she’s got plenty to do so it’s just easier if I do this one thing for my client instead.” The challenge with this is that it’s never just one thing. If you are finding yourself doing these tasks, you are in The Zone of Competence. You both could be doing these activities but the truth is that if you are already having a successful month you essentially are now giving yourself permission to stop doing your job and tackling items that your assistant really should be completing.

The Zone of Excellence. Successful advisers and agents find themselves in The Zone of Excellence when they are accomplishing activities that they do well and are getting compensated. Unfortunately, this can create a comfort zone which in the long term will hold one back from reaching their peak potential. In addition, you may find yourself falling into a rut doing what you do well but not liking what you are doing. In other words, if you are great at public speaking but are sick of doing seminars you may not be happy and thus need to find things you are good at and like doing. You will burnout otherwise.

The Zone of Genius. At some point, you need to ask yourself the tough question, If you couldn’t fail at your business, what is it that you really would love to be doing differently?” The answer to that question will lead you to The Zone of Genius, in which you are doing what you love to do. As a result, work won’t feel like work. In this zone time doesn’t fly but instead it flows; you are not exhausted, you feel fulfilled. Granted you will still have to work to make a great living but you would also be happy and passionate about your professional life.

Taking the Big Leap
Take a moment to determine what zone you are currently in. If you want to live your life’s purpose, then you must take a big leap of faith and commit to becoming the person you are meant to be by finding the work you love to do. Then express to your target market your unique abilities and genuine willingness to help them so that one day they too could be in a position to afford to do what they love to do. If you can take this leap, you will have done what Hendricks meant by conquering your hidden (or unknown) fear and taking yourself to the next level of work and life.

If you are ready to take your big leap, schedule a complimentary 30-minute coaching session with me by emailing Melissa Denham, director of client servicing at Advisor Solutions.

Dan FinleyDaniel C. Finley
President
Advisor Solutions
St. Paul, Minn.


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FPA Retreat 2016: Thursday, April 28

The Wigwam Resort outside Phoenix, Ariz., welcomed Financial Planning Association members this week for FPA Retreat 2016. Below are photos from Thursday, April 28.

Did you miss Retreat this year, or just want to register for 2017 early? Join us next year at Château Élan in North Atlanta, Georgia April 24-27, 2017. Use the code PARET17 for $100 off if you register before May 31, 2016.


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When Is the Last Time You Went Outside Your Comfort Zone?

I recently went outside my comfort zone, when I biked across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Sure, I was with 100 other riders, I slept in hotels on two nights, and I knew I had the security of the SAG truck that would pick me up if I couldn’t complete the day’s ride. Still, it was my legs that peddled the 190 miles and climbed the 10,000 feet of the adventure. The resulting emotional effect at the end of the ride was glorious. It led me to ponder the extent to which we avoid going outside our comfort zone, especially as we age.

I googled the comfort zone concept and learned a few things:

  • Challenging ourselves helps us perform at our peak. No surprise. It’s like interval training for an athlete—without some difficulty, we fail to learn, grow and get better.
  • Risk helps us rise to the occasion. Although we don’t want to take risk all the time, taking some risk helps us put aside fear of failure, a fear that often leads us to settle and holds us back.
  • It is important to keep putting ourselves out there throughout life. Taking calculated risks keeps us open to experience and makes us more interesting! And while it’s true that our comfort zone enlarges over time, learning new skills improves our well-being as we age.
  • Calculated risk is the name of the game. The Yerkes-Dodson Law refers to the relationship between risk and performance. Risk enhances performance up to a certain level. Beyond that point, good stress becomes anxiety, which interferes with performance.

My recent experience made me ponder the risks I’ve taken in my life and career. It led me to think about the aging of advisers in our industry and the increasing emergence of lifestyle practices. You may need to contemplate whether this concept applies to you or not. But if it does, one is wise to do things like:

  • Find ways to incorporate challenges into daily life
  • Make a snap decision if you are a cautious, deliberate decision maker or, if you tend to make snap decisions as a norm, try taking a slower, more planned and deliberate decision-making approach
  • Find small ways to stretch yourself every day, turning it into a habit over time

Ultimately, I have realized that I need to challenge myself more; maybe you do, too. So whether in work or personally, find a way to take a calculated risk that puts you outside your comfort zone. The benefit is learning something new that will serve you indefinitely.

Joni Youngwirth_2014 for webJoni Youngwirth
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.


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Oh the Capabilities! FPA launches Professional Development Center

PDC_Guide.inddMany of us might not know the full capabilities of our smart phones, then we discover a cool, new-to-us feature that we’re over the moon about. “Wow,” we might think. “I didn’t know my phone could do that!”

Having a smart phone that you don’t use to its full capacity is kind of like being a member of a professional association and not utilizing all the educational and professional development features it has to offer you. Until now, finding all those features may have been difficult for Financial Planning Association members.

But it shouldn’t be difficult anymore.

FPA recently launched the Professional Development Center, an integrated learning environment with the highest-quality live, virtual and self-study content curated for you. FPA put in one place everything you’ll need to learn your way.

“This is the beginning of shifting our educational focus from primarily offering continuing education credits to being the most valuable continuous learning resource for all CFP professionals,” says George Bradley, director of professional development at FPA. “We are already hearing that our message and our integrated solutions are resonating with members.”
0115JFP PageSuiteCvr.inddThat message perhaps hasn’t been articulated well in the past, writes Journal of Financial Planning Editor Carly Schulaka in the Journal’s September issue.

“FPA has been delivering top-notch professional development to members since our inception,” Schulaka writes. And now FPA is articulating that message to make it easier for members to find educational and professional development opportunities. “The learning is in print, it’s live, it’s virtual. More importantly, it’s continuous and integrated.”

In your September Journal, you will find your Professional Development Center Guide, which will highlight all the features of the FPA Professional Development Center and guide you to its very own webpage, where you can find the latest professional education, community discussions, career development, the Journal, and practice management content and resources. Under those umbrellas are a number of other features including FPA Knowledge Circles, valuable webinars and MentorMatch, among others.

For all things learning and professional development, visit www.OneFPA.org/PDC. Download your Professional Development Guide here.

After reading the guide, you might say: “Wow! I didn’t know my association could do that!”