You’ve never heard of Bob Veres, because he’s not in health and wellness. But this column applies equally well to health and wellness businesses.
Bob is a well-known, influential and respected leader within the financial planning profession.
He recently received a thought-provoking message from a colleague, who said that “The reality of [our] profession,” he said, “is that a substantial part of our industry consists of practitioners who will always make a living, but never grow.”
He goes on to describe a professional in his community who’s stuck in “first gear” — who has clients and customers, but so little income from each.
Here’s the column sparked by that message, adapted with Bob’s gracious permission for Radial’s subscribers:
The Cure for Unfulfilled Potential
We live in a world where many of us often fall short of our remarkable potential. Many small businesses are struggling without ever quite realizing what they’re capable of.
This, of course, is the center of gravity for the silent majority that I have written about before, made up of people whose life and business prospects are vaguely, but not painfully, dim. They are stuck somewhere between success and failure, see no way out and aren’t really looking with any urgency. They see a lot of information in books and trade magazines and consultants, but none of it ever seems to tell them what they really need: how to get out of the rut.
I have seen these people at local and regional conferences, and others like them from every walk of life, in every job and profession, in every city and state–people stuck in a kind of limbo, people who have remarkable potential but are never quite one thing or the other, moving through life as if they are sleepwalking, without a plan, responding to whatever is in front of them now, and now again for as long as it takes until it is too late to achieve the wonderful and important goals that they are capable of achieving, or fulfill the extraordinary plans they never got around to making.
This is not a fatal disease, and most of the time it is not even unpleasant. It is, in fact, normal. But I think we can agree that it is also, somehow, tragic. I try to help professionals address the “how” part of getting outside the zone of mediocrity and silent desperation, but I think sometimes that it’s just as important to address, directly, the “why.” You and everyone around you have enormous potential to accomplish remarkable things, and you know that. But to do it, you have to make a commitment to be something other than normal, to be more than average as the world defines it.
How? The prescription is not complicated. If you want to seize the opportunity of their one precious and important life, turn off the television and make time to decide what you want to accomplish, and don’t forget to dream big.
1) Make an appointment with yourself every week, and guard that time against the encroachment of all the other agendas of the world that are crashing onto your desk and your schedule, and use that time to plan your next step, and the one after that.
2) Identify and read the writers who motivate you, who give you good advice and information that is focused on YOU, without taking up a lot of your time. Eliminate the rest, because they’re just wasting your time.
3) Find unproductive time in your daily or weekly schedule and ruthlessly eliminate it. Give up mindless entertainment and learn to enjoy thinking about and planning a better life.
4) If you feel like a victim of circumstance, identify and then change the circumstances one step at a time, until you control them and they no longer control you.
5) Make a list of three tasks that you perform now, that don’t motivate you or interest you, and make that a job description for your staff or your next hire. Then make a list of three more, until you can focus your full attention on those things that you do better than anybody, and see how your talents can be focused on making the people around you better, happier, and making progress out of their own self-created ruts of silent desperation.
6) And most importantly, continue to remind yourself of your commitment to this new course of life. Over and over and over again, the world will try to make you forget it tomorrow, and the next day, and the one after that. Find a way to remind yourself so often and so forcefully that the world will no longer be able to draw you back into a numbing mediocrity.
None of this is rocket science; none of this is even especially hard. It is, however, unusual, and that is what I wish for on your behalf: that you become an unusual example of success and fulfillment, and that you will work, successfully, to make success and fulfillment and extraordinary achievement more common in your own life and in the world around you.
One of the great blessings about our industry and your profession is that you can make this your goal without changing your job description.
I wish you luck as you embrace the challenge of life; I wish you luck as you help others do the same.