By Dan Atkinson
It feels a little late for New Year’s thoughts, but each day is an opportunity to set and reframe our path. We don’t need to wait until 1 January 2021. Indeed, we mustn’t. If we are to authentically talk to clients about living their best lives, then we need to be doing so too.
In my reading and listening over the last few months the word ‘rest’ has come up repeatedly. I’d like to share what I’ve learned about rest by taking some time out over Christmas.
We Are Finite – Recognise It
It’s easy to say ‘yes’ to people, projects and plans. They could be exciting, meaningful opportunities – or we could be avoiding the conflict of saying no. Either way, the more we say ‘yes’ to the more we fill our time and emotional capacity.
Our time and emotional capacity are finite resources that we can’t increase. So, we need to be thoughtful about how we spread our commitments. We need to be clear on what is most important and prioritise. If we simply don’t have the time or emotional capacity, we need to recognise this.
If we fill our capacity in order of the loudest shout, the things that matter most to us will get squeezed. Likewise, if we just say no to everything to protect our capacity at all costs we won’t achieve anything. We maintain control by actively managing priorities.
We Aren’t Our Best Overfilled
I know that if I try to overfill my personal capacity, I become a little like Dan from the Snickers advert! The way I behave changes, my decision making suffers, and I don’t look after myself quite as I should. Maybe you can relate?
If I say ‘yes’ to too many things, it puts pressure on the most important things. However, if I measure requests against what is important, I can maintain balance. By focusing on the things that I can influence that are important I can control my composure, make meaningful decisions, and perhaps avoid that delicious looking doughnut! Prioritising commitments impacts what matters most – our relationships.
Pause To Take In The View
Managing priorities on the go is easier said than done. We live busy lives and work hard for our clients. We care about them and work diligently. We play within an ever-changing set of rules – all the while seeking to run profitable businesses. And spending time with family. And enjoying it!
The theme of my listening and reading these last few months has been ‘rest.’ We spend so much time hurrying after things but fail to look at the view. If we are driving at 70 mph down the motorway, we won’t be able to take in the views around us. We need to pull over, get out and take in where we have arrived.
It’s only by resting that we can refocus and re-establish what is important for us. We need a pause to refresh and evaluate where we are. If our priorities have shifted – or our management of them has broken down – then we can put together a plan to mend them.
We Need Planning
Like all good habits, adding rest isn’t just going to happen overnight. We need to plan and execute times of refreshing. Sabbaticals and holidays are great ways of doing this, but we need to plan times of pause and rest in each day. Try different times and locations to find out what works for you. For me the journey to and from the office is regular time to be quiet and reflect. Others like to start the day with a moment of calm (and coffee). Put a plan in place and work hard to protect the time.
Modelling Rest To Clients
Building this behaviour into our lives is important and we can build it into the way we deliver financial planning. We can use client meetings to check in on what’s important. Have your clients’ priorities changed and are we helping them focus on the new ones? Take a moment to enjoy the view and see how far you’ve come together.
The impact of rest will be visible in our busy lives. We will want to share about it and model this with our clients. If we are living our best life, we will be better positioned to help them live theirs.
Dan’s degree Music Technology degree helps him approach Financial Planning problems creatively. He is both a Chartered Financial Planner and a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society (PFS). Dan is an Accredited Paraplanner™ with CISI and is working towards the Certified Financial Planner™ certification. He is head of technical at EQ Investorsand Chairman of the CISI Paraplanner Interest Group. Having won several awards in his field, Dan continues to work with CISI and other organisations to support others involved in this area of Financial Planning by writing articles, and hosting conferences and events.
Outside of the office Dan is married to Hannah and has a young daughter who keeps him on his toes. He is also involved in his local Church in Hatfield. Follow him here.