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Your Best Year

A 2004 NAIFA Convention panel designed for young advisors will sharpen your professional growth strategies.

By Lucretia DiSanto Jones

Roger Seip's website insists that as a once stand-up comedian, successful door-to-door educational books salesperson, and brave Sunday-school teacher (to middle schoolers—yikes!), he can teach anything to anybody.

He’ll have a chance to prove this claim true at the 2004 NAIFA Convention and Career Conference in Las Vegas in September. There, Seip will present a workshop, How to Have Your Best Year Every Year, to the under-35 crowd at the convention's Young Advisors Task Force (YAT) breakout session.

“The biggest myth about time management is that there is such a thing as time management.”

—Roger Seip

On their way up
The highly driven, under-35s have grown up with the Internet and are in touch with the latest sales technology, gurus and techniques. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for personal and professional growth, especially for those still learning the business ropes and still settling into their adult lives.

Seip is an ideal presenter for this group. He exudes energy, just turned 34 and already has a success story: He is cofounder of eight-year-old Freedom Speakers and Trainers, a full-service speaking, training and development company, which is experiencing explosive growth.

Seip artfully mixes his sales and comedy experiences in a way that makes learning easier for his audiences. “I’m a huge believe that when people can laugh and learn at the same time, the learning is easier. The program is always a lot of fun.”

Success principles
During his presentation, Seip will give attendees an understanding of basic success principles that will help them be more effective, make more money and reduce the stress in their lives. The more popular principles that he will address during the presentation are goal setting and time management.

“People always need help with time management,” says Seip. “One of the things I tell them is that you can’t have effective time management or usage without effective goal setting. If they don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish, clearly how they manage their time is irrelevant.”

At the YAT breakout session, Seip will lead an exercise that pushes people to specify their goals. “I’ll have them get a clean sheet of paper and write down their current No. 1 goal. Ninety-nine percent of what I get will not be a goal—like ‘Make more money.’ What would qualify for a goal is ‘I want to increase my goal 20 percent in 2004. Or ‘By December 31, 2004, I will make $200,000.’ People’s goals are too general, so they lack power. People respond better to specific instructions than just generalities.”

To help attendees specify their goals, Seip outlines five characteristics of an effective goal.

  1. It must be meaningful. The person setting the goal has to create it and think of it himself.
  2. It has to be specific and measurable. “It’s the biggest thing that people miss,” says Seip. “Goals must be specific and must have a due date.
  3. It must be the right size. “It has to be small enough so that people believe they can do it and at the same time it has to be big enough to make them stretch,” says Seip. If a goal is too large, says Seip, it can become demotivating.
  4. They must be written down.
  5. They have to be reviewed systematically. “Reconnect with your goals briefly at least once or twice a week, then more extensively on a quarterly basis, almost like a business-planning process,” he adds.

Shifting paradigms
Time management is another hot topic at Seip's workshops, but it requires people to make two paradigm shifts. “One, the biggest myth about time management is that there is such a thing as time management. I use the term because people understand it, but if you think about it, it’s impossible to manage time, because you can’t fire time. You can’t control the flow of time because it just happens.”

Once individuals understand that time can't be managed, Seip helps them make the second shift to managing their activities and themselves instead. How does he do this? By having attendees answer these two questions.

1. Is what I’m doing right now moving me toward my goal?
2. Is this the most valuable use of my time right now?

Be there
Under-35 advisors who attend the Young Advisors Task force breakout session at this September’s NAIFA Convention in Las Vegas will go home having moved much closer to answering these questions with a resounding “yes.”



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