“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abe Lincoln
As I write this, it’s baseball season.
After what many considered the greatest World Series of all-time in 2016 with the Cubs winning by one run in extra innings of game seven to end their 108-year drought, Major League Baseball has risen to unparalleled heights and is legitimately contending with the NFL as America’s top sport.
My business partner coaches both of his son’s Little League teams and shared a few examples of the importance of preparation:
My older boy had an epiphany.
“Dad, I notice that when I hit the ball around the yard before I play, I always do better in the game at hitting that day.”
You’ve got it, son.
Contrast that with my younger son, who was determined to wear his new glove on the field without properly breaking it in.
I did my dad’ly duties and told him it wouldn’t work properly if it wasn’t prepared the right way. That it would take several days to get ready.
He wasn’t having any of that.
So he took it out onto the field and…
…he booted a couple of routine ground balls.
…he could not catch anything in the air since the glove wouldn’t squeeze properly.
…frustration and tears. (To be fair, he’s 6.)
This was a lesson he had to learn the hard way.
After the bad first outing, we took a step back and did things the right way.
We conditioned that glove with oil and let it dry and soften overnight.
“Dad, is it ready now?”
I parked the car on it the 2nd night.
“How about now, dad?”
Then I jammed a softball into the webbing to create a pocket and bound it tightly with shoelaces on the final night.
“Dad, PLEASE tell me it’s ready!”
Game on, son. By the fourth day, that baby looked game ready.
And it was. In the next game, he made three outs at second base and caught every throw or high pop that came his way.
The joy of the new glove was back.
Both of my business partner’s sons learned the value of preparation. And like their examples, sometimes life teaches us those lessons via epiphany or heartbreak.
I love that Abe Lincoln quote above. In many ways it represents how I operate.
Whether I am scheduled for a strategy call with a potential client or working with a current client on the phone, preparation is key.
Everything must be just so.
I need a quiet room free of distractions. I lay out papers with facts, numbers, and information specific to the client I am about to talk to.
I even have pump-up music –I can’t tell you what it is, though; it’s an industry secret of mine
During the call I don’t check email in the background, respond to texts, peruse social media, or update my calendar. I pace the room making sure every ounce of focus and mental energy is given to that client or potential client.
It really is the only way.
There’s another quote about preparation that’s a bit more clichéd than the Lincoln one, but it holds true: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Ben Franklin
Each hour that I put in on the phone is predicated by several hours of planning. Otherwise, I’d be wasting time and preparing to fail.
Many financial advisors I’ve spoken with have prepared to succeed -but only partially.
College degrees, certifications, setting up a website, creating social media accounts, networking, and so on.
It’s a lot of work, but it’s actually NOT adequate preparation. All of those things just allow you to exist. Not to flourish. Not to win.
To be honest, most financial advisors I’ve spoken with are unaware of HOW to prepare in order to take their practice to new heights. In those cases, they are preparing to fail.
The good news is that I’ve taken the guesswork and mystery out of the process. I can help you prepare your business to flourish. To win. Hop on a call today to get the ball rolling –or more apropos of this post: to condition the glove, so that you can start a whole new ballgame for your business.
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