Tuesday, September 30, 2008

These Turbulent Markets, Where to Turn for Advice....

These Turbulent Markets, Where to Turn for Advice....

"Develop the habit of turning inward whenever something goes wrong outwardly"
- Vernon Howard

To say that something has gone wrong 'outwardly', i.e., in the financial markets, would be an understatement. Something is terribly wrong with what is happening these days. But, believe it or not, this does not have to impact you and how you conduct your business. In fact, at a certain level of understanding, one comes to realize that these events actually have no power at all to influence your thinking . . it is merely our inability to prevent them from impacting our thinking -turning towards thought of negativity - that is the problem.

Often times we want outer circumstances to conform to our sense of how things should be. During my career as a wealth manager, I was told that my 'book of business' [i.e. my client base] largely reflected my own personality. That, in fact, was true. I attracted clients to my business that thought a lot like I did. Therefore, when something went wrong, they and I were usually in very good company with each other over what was perceived to be wrong with the world. I played the quarterback, laying out the plan to deal with the problem, while the clients and I together speculated on where things were heading. It was a collaborative, but often-times exhausting process.

Sometimes I got caught up in my client's emotional states in a way that made me feel as negative as them. For some reason, I could not help it. I sympathized with my client's concerns and I was impacted, as a business owner, by those concerns. And I was certainly not alone, as I was also in the good company of other advisors who were equally anxious to engage in conversations about how difficult things were and hopeless things seemed to be.

It was during those times that I was without a certain level of understanding. I was not able to detach myself from these outer circumstances in a way that would have strengthened my ability to handle them better and, in turn, be a better advisor to my clients. Instead, I would let these circumstances slow down my prospecting of new clients and have a negative impact on my business.

Over the past few years I have learned a new way of thinking - one that has produced some remarkable results in my personal and professional life. This new way of thinking begins with the idea that we can control our thoughts, and therefore control our outcomes, all of the time, regardless of the circumstances. This new way of thinking essentially states that negative thinking attracts poor results into our lives. Our ability to recognize this simple fact is actually a critical point in improving our circumstances.

Therefore, when it looks like the world is going to 'hell in a handbasket', you literally have a choice. You can choose to feel lousy about it, or you can choose to examine your thoughts more carefully and guard against 'going negative'. This type of thinking requires a bit of work. However, there are a few good reasons for seeking this level of understanding:

First, as advisors, clients depend upon the objectivity and professionalism of our advice. I often compare this idea to what we are told to do on an airplane if cabin pressure should be lost during the flight - first apply the oxygen mask to yourself, so that you can then assist others properly.

Next, as business owners, we want to realize that negativity slows the growth of our practices and prevents us from providing our valuable services to others. Nobody wins in this exchange.

And, finally, for our own benefit, it is more healthy [and profitable] to choose to remain positive and optimistic.

Do you know that you cannot change what has happened in the past?

Are you aware that dwelling on and worrying about the past is extremely unproductive - particularly since it is the one thing that you cannot change.

You can change your state of mind today and better direct your future results.

This and many other topics will be the conversation that I will be engaging in with my friend and mentor, David Neagle this Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. ET. I hope that you can join us - click here to register to be a part of this discussion.

And as an ancient mystic once said when consoling a person on their current plight, "This too shall pass".

Specializing in Business Exit Strategies, John M. Leonetti, Esq., M.S. Finance, CM&AA founded Pinnacle Equity Solutions to provide exit strategy planning services to business owners as well as education and training programs for professional advisors. To learn more about John's Exit Strategy Services and his recently published book, "Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth", visit ExitingYourBusiness.com

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