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3 Reasons Why Advisors Fall Short in Goal Setting


Are you a member of the 1% club? You know, those people who are successful goal-setters, who declare to make changes or execute tasks — and actually do.

If you’re not, this blog post is for you.

Goal setting seems to be a futile exercise for many. Napoleon Hill said, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” While that may be true, merely dreaming won’t get you to the finish line. It takes strategy and hard work to make those goals a reality.

Most Advisors just go through the exercise this time of year. They sit through year-end planning meetings, put goals together, and get a little excited about what could happen in the new year, but ultimately put the plan on a shelf and go back to their old habits. I’m not trying to be pessimistic — this is a reality!

So, why do only 1% of people set and achieve their goals?

After working with thousands of Advisors, I’ve compiled the common reasons my clients typically fall-short when it comes to the goal-setting process. With a little bit of focus, determination, and consistent work, my clients find they can absolutely crush their goals.

1. Lack of Vision: When was the last time you allowed yourself to dream about the future? Most don’t think about what “could be” because they are so stuck in the present, trying to meet their numbers or get through the next meeting. Having a vision is critical to achieving your goals. A vision is a mental picture or a short video of the future. It is a glimpse into what is possible. It provides motivation during tough times and helps us overcome obstacles. Defining a clear vision gives you a roadmap to your defined success. Remember, your vision is your end-game or destination. The journey, how to get to the ideal destination, is your goal.

2. Beliefs & Attitudes: There is a Sandler rule: “You can only perform in your roles consistent with how you see yourself conceptually.” What this really means is that you’ll only achieve your goals if you believe you deserve them. Many Advisors get derailed in achieving their goals because of their beliefs around success or failure. The feelings of unworthiness or fear drive their actions. This is a real phenomenon and not fluff. Research shows that only 1 in 9 people are born optimistic, and for most people, 85% of their daily thoughts are negative. Head trash is a common obstacle the majority of Advisors must overcome. Working on the beliefs and attitudes necessary to achieve success is critical.

3. Unrealistic Expectations: Ever try to fit a square peg into a round hole? That’s what it’s like when an Advisor tries to take on too much or achieve too many goals at once. The old adage, “less is more” is so applicable. Narrowing your goals down to a few that will significantly impact the business and executing those exceptionally well and taking consistent action is part of the equation for achieving success. Also, think back to your prior year and go through the process I outline in Embracing Lessons Learned. It’s a helpful exercise to get you to reflect on the various outcomes of your hard work over the previous 12 months.

Remember to do a little bit all of the time, not a lot some of the time.

I’d like to hear about your goal-setting process. Please reach out to me via LinkedIn and let me know how it’s going.

Glenn Mattson

Glenn Mattson

Glenn Mattson is a seasoned veteran of the selling profession, Glenn has personally built one of the leading offices for Sandler Training with his office ranking consistently in the top 1% of Sandler franchisees worldwide. He specializes in working with financial services producers and agency managers who want to shorten their selling cycles, grow their revenues, boost their productivity, and improve their operational efficiencies. Glenn's clients include many producers who seek to be MDRT qualifiers as well as Court of The Table and Top of The Table members who attribute a great deal of their success to the principles, practices, and, above all, the accountability Glenn brings to their practice. Glenn is based in Long Island, New York, but he's usually "in the field," working with clients all over the United States helping them to grow their business, revenues, and profits. Additionally, Glenn is a sought-after keynote speaker, available to speak to small or large groups on emerging business topics.