Blog Post: Begin With the End in Mind

Blog Post: Begin With the End in Mind

July 24, 2020

“Before we can build the world we want to live in, we have to imagine it.” – Simon Sinek

I have been thinking a lot about time lately. How quickly the past 4 months have passed … how we are already half way through the year (here’s to a much better 2021!) and more than half way through the summer. To be honest, during this time, I have sometimes felt a bit like I’m running on a hamster wheel – focused solely on daily tasks and crossing off items on my to-do list. COVID has made it challenging to focus on long-term goals, as we concern ourselves with the day to day adjustments of the new normal. But it is important not to lose sight of the life we imagine for ourselves.

In times like these, I typically lean on my business consultant or read a book, oftentimes both. But before I reached out for help, I had to look inward and do some deep thinking to determine what I needed help with. I started with my goals: What had I intended to accomplish this year and how far off the mark was I?

I shared some of my goals with you at the end of 2019 in my Decade in Review blog post and found myself re-reading it. Thinking about the past decade, reminded me that this October will mark my 15th year working as a Financial Advisor. Which got me thinking about the next 15 years of my career. What was my vision? One thing is for sure, I no longer want to do it alone. As I shared in my December blog post, one of my goals for 2020 was to start building a team; but, to date, I had not taken any actionable steps towards this goal.

As I thought about the tasks and responsibilities I would want to delegate, I realized I first had to ask myself: What is my time worth? You have heard the saying “time is money.” It is popular because it is true. It is extremely useful to know how to value your own time. Here is a useful equation I found to help determine your hourly rate:

Salary / 52 / # of hours you work per week

Knowing how much money each hour is worth will help you make smarter decisions about many subjects, including:

  • Whether to take on additional part time work, and at what rate.
  • How long to wait in line for a free item.
  • Whether it’s worth hiring help such as an assistant, laundry service, home cleaner, nanny, etc.

This exercise, made me think about the Eisenhower Matrix - if you have read Stephen Covey's “7 Habits for Highly Effective People,” then you are familiar with this matrix for organizing tasks and managing time.

Eisenhower Matrix for organizing tasks and managing time

The clear answer here was that I wanted to spend less time on administrative functions and more on face-to-face meetings with my clients (we are thinking long term here people!) and professional development. In light of all that has transpired, I am also adding a focus on the adoption and implementation of new technologies, some of which have already been realized, e.g., Advice Pay, which allows you to pay your financial planning fee with a credit card, and MyRepChat, which allows us to text – an effective, efficient way to communicate.

I share all this with you in case you are feeling the same sort of way. Most of us engage in some form of long-term thinking; after all, we all have goals and dreams.  Unfortunately, oftentimes when we vocalize our plans and strategies for the near and more distant future, they can be vague - more like hopes and wishes. What I have learned along the way is this:

  • We’ve all had the experience of writing down goals for the sake of writing goals down. But the ones that we really emotionally connect with – those are the ones that we actually get done.
  • If my focus is always on what seems urgent, then there is no time to be looking at the big picture.

In addition to calculating your hourly rate and completing the Eisenhower Matrix, I would encourage you to draft a personal mission statement that outlines your goals and a vision for the life you want. Think carefully. Challenge yourself. See yourself as you really are. What motivates you (money, job title, education, self-improvement, etc)? Decide what you need to change. Write the statement. Make a commitment. Keep that commitment.

In closing, here is my mission statement:

Create financial independence for myself, my family, my clients and my team by building an organization that excels at client service and cultivates relationships over generations. The ultimate objective being to have a positive impact on the lives of others and leave a lasting legacy.