Personal Alignment


Technology is advancing faster than many of us can keep up with. While I am undoubtedly a big advocate of using technology, I do believe there is such a thing as being overloaded. We are beginning to see the use of financial software such as eMoney and MoneyGuidePro becoming more pronounced. Instead of relying on the latest application to crunch numbers for you, I suggest creating a personal balance sheet for yourself and your clients. There are multiple ways in which you can create your balance sheet, either with a pen and paper or simply by using a spreadsheet. One of the significant benefits of having a personal balance sheet is that it is quick to implement and allows you to regularly update your clients. It also enables you to become more aware of your client’s net worth and more importantly, what impacts it. I personally use a balance sheet to monitor where I am going and how I can increase my wealth by adding more assets. There are two ways in which you can do this. The first is to save more money from your income. The second method is to invest in items that increase in value over time. Lessen Your Debt to Increase Your Assets There is; however, a third way to increase your wealth. This can be done by paying off debt. Reducing your debt has two positives. Not only does it minimize the led weight that is dragging down your net worth, but it lowers your monthly interest payment, allowing you to save more in order to help increase your assets. As a sales trainer for financial advisors, I am a big advocate of helping clients determine their net worth, which is calculated by subtracting liabilities from assets. Simply put, your net worth is how much you own minus how much you owe. Liabilities include unpaid credit card balances, automobile loans, student loans and home mortgages. Your assets are broken down into current assets, long-term securities (retirement accounts), real estate, personal business (if you are a business owner or entrepreneur) and personal property (jewelry, art, and cars). Your personal balance sheet should be updated once a year. When updating my sheet, I track two things: net worth and assets growth. Net worth is the remainder after subtracting liabilities from assets. If this number continues to rise, I know my wealth is growing. The second item I monitor is the value of assets or assets growth. This helps to show if what I am investing in is maturing. Tracking these two things over time has provided me with a picture of where I’m currently at...

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How many hours a day do you spend on your computer, tablet or smartphone? If the answer is too difficult to count, it’s time for a digital detox. In training for the U.S. Aquathlon Team (triathlon without the biking), the most important thing I can do is have a rest day, which I schedule for Mondays. One day each weekend is dedicated to doing a two-a-day and the second day is a long workout session.  Besides giving my legs and heart a break, resting on Monday also helps me transition into the workweek by reenergizing and recuperating. Recharging is the best thing I can do, because training is all about recovering and repairing the muscles. With that in mind, I believe that we need to do the same in our work life. This is where detoxing comes into play. Digital Detox—How to Unplug You probably have heard of folks detoxing from food and alcohol, but how about a detox from the digital world?  As a sales trainer for financial advisors, I hear of financial planners getting torn away from reality and becoming engulfed by their businesses. As a result, I recommend a digital detox.  Remove yourself from email, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other form of social media you find yourself utilizing on a daily basis. During the 2013 Christmas season, I visited my brother in Nicaragua, and I left my phone in the airport (believe it or not, the airport held it for me until I returned). It was the best thing that I could have done, because I was able to disconnect and enjoy my time with family. When I returned, I was rejuvenated and eager to jump back into the business. Here is a great example of how you can create your own digital detox:  http://www.loveinfographics.com/categories/food-and-drink-infographics/8-minute-digital-detox-with-tea-infographic# Creating a weekly digital detox on a regular basis will improve your focus and productivity and allow you to be more intentional about your business. Next Steps Looking to try a weekly digital detox but worried about how your business may operate without your assistance? We can help. By creating a process and utilizing checklists prior to removing yourself, you can be assured your business will run smoothly while you are away each week. Dive into one of our many posts on checklists to get started. photo credit: premasagar via photopin...

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After you align with yourself and ask the right questions, in the third phase of creating a client alignment process, Jack Beatty stresses the importance of listening to the answers you give to the right questions. Rather than assume, listen and learn. For years I have been asking the RIGHT questions as Jack has trained me to do.  At the end of a day, at the beginning of the day or at the end of a meeting– asking the right questions puts me in a better state of mind to achieve the opportunities in everything I do. Ironically, if I would have asked the right questions in my example (with my wife packing the car) in An Interview with Jack Beatty: Personal Alignment Tips from a Mentor (Entry 1 of 4), I could have tamed my emotions and better understood the situation. This is where practice comes in. Rest assured, my example will make me be more aware of asking the right questions when similar situations arise. In my most recent meeting with Jack, he added a new component to asking the right questions: listen to the answers that you give to right questions. If I am asking the right questions, and even writing them down, aren’t I recognizing the answers? Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case.  Intuitively, we might accept the answers, but we need to deliberately recognize the answers. Recruit a Coach To enhance your understanding of yourself and continue to commit to personal growth, Jack recommends that financial advisors engage a coach, a mentor, a friend or a partner to listen to you without judgment. You don’t need to find and or pay a business coach, but you need to engage a person to test and push you. Your “coach” is better able to help you identify your role and address the assumptions you bring to your own thinking. Your coach will also ask questions that make you think about situations differently, further testing your assumptions and opening you up to a greater perspective. Ask your coach to help you develop your character.  Often, we default to developing our function—we are a husband, father, employee, boss.  But this is what we do and should not define how we do it. Don’t define roles in terms of function, but rather define your roles in terms of character—thoughts, feelings, and mindsets, how we communicate, and how we relate with other people. Ditch Assumptions Then, as Jack indicates, “Once each role is identified, the next step towards awareness is through asking another set of right questions to reveal any hidden assumptions, expectations or limitations within each one of...

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Mentors in my life have challenged and pushed me to places I did not KNOW I wanted to go—they’ve made me ask and answer questions that help me grow. Recently, I met with one of my mentors, Jack Beatty, who I have not seen in two years. As excited and inspirational as ever, Jack has an uncanny ability to help people (me) find themselves (myself). Enthused by our conversation, my next four blog entries will focus on my chat with Jack and the importance of finding alignment within ourselves, asking the right questions and avoiding assumptions, and creating a natural client alignment process. Jack Beatty is the founder and CEO of C.O.R.E. GROUP USA, http://www.coregroupusa.com, a firm specializing in helping financial advisors clarify their vision and focus on enriching the lives of their clients. C.O.R.E. GROUP USA distinguishes itself by empowering financial planners to develop, maintain and expand their client relationships. Fight or Flight Fixes Nothing Before I jump in to explaining how you can best align with clients (I will save that for part four), it is best to understand how we can best align with ourselves and achieve our own goals. Why is alignment so important? Here’s a personal example about how my own misalignment caused a relationship to wobble. Recently, I packed up our car for a visit with my wife’s parents.  We were leaving early in the morning, so I got most of the bags packed in the car the night before. We were picking up my wife’s parents from the airport and then continuing on to our destination. As such, I did not spend as much time arranging the bags, because without knowing what her parents had packed, I assumed we would just spend time reshuffling bags at the airport. However, when my wife saw the car, she immediately jumped in and began rearranging our luggage. She did not ask what my plan was; she did not consider what I had in store when we reached the airport. Naturally, I was annoyed with her for plunging in without considering the context or asking what my plan was. I experienced the human nature of “fight or flight” … I shut down and did the bare minimum.  We departed our house without a word. The next 25 minutes were in silence. I was in flight. As it turns out, my natural inclination of flight actually didn’t need to happen. I could have easily asked my wife what her intent was: How was she trying to make things ‘better’?  Essentially, I could have achieved a more ideal outcome by interacting with her and asking her questions. I...

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