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Taking One Day at a Time

Relationships are the most important element in business today.

By Lucretia DiSanto Jones

Just about everyone could use a morale boost these days, maybe a few words of reassurance about the future or tips on how to ease the discomfort of the current political and economic uncertainty.

For financial advisors, now more than ever, there is tremendous pressure to be the bearer of good news to customers and prospects. After all, the financial future of consumers is in their hands.

Bringing it into focus
Dan Sullivan, an advisor to entrepreneurs and business leaders, urges his clients to become more knowledgeable of the challenges and opportunities their customers and prospects face. To help instill confidence, business people must respond to the foggy economic climate with a clear head, unrelenting focus and a willingness to seek new ideas, new energies, new tools and new resources-for themselves and their clients.

To accomplish these objectives, Sullivan suggests the following strategies:

  • Forget about yourself, focus on others. In unsettling times like these, do not turn inward. Sullivan suggests helping others turn their "negatives" into "positives." The bottom line: You will have less time to worry about your own situation.
  • Forget about the future, focus on today. Sullivan believes "the only future that has any reality is the one that you continually create for yourself." By concentrating on each day as it comes, you can create a future through the achievements and results of that day. Tally each day’s accomplishments and then set an agenda for the next.
  • Forget about your commodity, focus on your relationships. Deepen the power and possibility of all your relationships, not just those with family and friends. Also strengthen those with suppliers, team members, clients, prospects and anyone who touches your life. These relationships are your best source for new business, possibilities and collaborations. As Sullivan notes, "By reaching out, you become a source of confidence for others-and for yourself."
  • Forget about the sale, focus on creating value. Now may not be the time to push for the sale; you may turn people off. Instead, find out what’s keeping your customers and prospects awake at night. Then help them create a plan to eliminate those concerns and reinforce their existing strengths. The sales will come.
  • Forget about your losses, focus on your opportunities. Some of us just can’t put things behind us. Why not start an entirely new game today and stop concentrating on your losses?
  • Forget about your difficulties, focus on your progress. Sullivan explains that when life becomes difficult, we must either muster strength we’ve never uncovered or roll over and be defeated. Take advantage of your newfound strength and, as he says, “Treat this whole period of challenge as a time when you can make your greatest progress as a human being.”
  • Forget about events, focus on your responses. Successful people know they can’t control events. Use what you can control-your reactions, abilities and energies-to find creative new ways to approach your business.
  • Forget about what’s missing, focus on resources that are available. Sullivan asserts that it is very important that you don’t become paralyzed when something bad happens. In his opinion, the “strategic response” is to take advantage of every available resource. This will allow you to achieve as many small results as possible, which will add up to significant daily progress.
  • Forget about who you were, focus on who you can be. Exercise your mind, spirit and character. Sullivan suggests that you forget about who you were before the uncertainty set in. As he states, "Take advantage of the present external confusion to become self-directed, self-managed and self-motivated."
  • Forget about your complaints, focus on your gratitude. Sullivan pulls no punches. "This is one of those times when everyone has to make a fundamental decision: to complain or to be grateful." He firmly believes that communicating optimism and gratitude will cultivate your best thinking, actions and results. In turn, this will open the door to a healthy outlook and the best possible consequences for you and your customers.

No quick fix
Clearly there is no salve for the anxiety resulting from the current political and economic situation. Life insurance agents and financial advisors cannot give their clients a date when the sailing will be smoother. But by increasing their sense of direction and capability, they will exude a sense of confidence that their clients and prospects need-and will appreciate-in the months ahead.

Dan Sullivan is founder and president of The Strategic Coach. For more information on these concepts, contact The Strategic Coach at 416-531-7399 or visit

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