NYT Bestselling Author Details the Types of Goals Virtual Advisors Should be Setting for 2021

New Year’s resolutions…

Love them….or hate them…they simply don’t work.

Just seven days in, 1 in 4 people have already broken the goals they set for themselves.

After one month, nearly 36% of resolutions can be counted as failures. 

And while roughly half of people make it to June with their goals still intact, only 8% of people see their resolutions through to the end of the year.

This 92% goal failure rate is enough to intimidate most virtual advisors to never set goals in the first place. 

I see it all the time.

I know advisors who refuse to engage in goal setting and vision casting because they don’t know where to start. 

But do you want to know the truth?

It’s not that virtual advisors like yourself are incapable of accomplishing big things – it’s that you don’t have the right SYSTEM in place for setting goals.

You’re stuck in an archaic mode of goal setting that just doesn’t work. 

I know that because I’ve been there. 

And in my humble opinion, there’s no person more qualified or experienced to speak on this dilemma than my good friend Brian Moran. 

He’s the New York Times bestselling author of The 12 Week Year  and one of the leading authority figures on how to do more in less time.

He’s worked with tens of thousands of insurance and financial advisors, as well as major brands and corporations like Morgan Stanely, Wells Fargo, MetLife, Prudential, New York Life, and Allstate to help them increase productivity in their organizations.

And his results have been nothing short of amazing. 

What follows are my summarized/paraphrased takeaways from our discussion, as well as some tips and guidance on how you can set better types of goals for your practice in 2021 and beyond.

Can you give us the backstory of how you came up with the idea of The 12 Week Year?

Brian jumped around in his early career from UPS to PepsiCo and other companies at a management level. Then he joined a consulting firm and fell in love with the idea of finding out what it takes to really perform at your best – as a person and as a business. 

But he quickly learned that it’s not just about ideas. It’s about execution. 

There’s value in information and techniques, but it all comes down to application. 

Most businesses have a quiver full of useful ideas, they just don’t shoot them very well. 

Brian has always been focused on the fundamentals of execution and high performance.

But even with some early successes in his consulting business, there was frustration about not being able to breakthrough.

One day, a client who was into cycling came to Brian and his business partner and brought up the idea of periodization. And it was this concept that he discovered to be the “missing link” in everything he was teaching and doing. 

Periodization is the process of focus, concentration, and overload in athletic training. It’s intended to amp up the intensity and urgency with which you move.

Brian began to rethink how scheduling/goals are viewed in an “annual” environment and said, “What if we increased the intensity and urgency, like an athlete in a training regimen?”

There’s nothing wrong with annual goals, but the problem is that people get too far behind and there’s no sense of urgency. 

If you aren’t on track to meet your goals at the end of January, you say, “No worries…I have 11 more months.” Then things slip even further from there. And before you realize it, you’re way off track.

Periodization – which is what The 12 Week Year is built on – solves this problem.

What are the “sacred cows” that this concept totally destroys for advisors?

According to Brian, there are three countercultural ideas that The 12 Week Year really emphasizes:

(1) Get Rid of the Annual Plan

 When the annual plan was created a century ago, you could look out four or five years and not a lot was going to change. That’s not the environment we operate in today. Our industry is changing on a weekly and monthly basis. 

You should have weekly and monthly goals that reflect this.

You might have an annual vision, but you shouldn’t set goals any further than 12 weeks in advance. 

A 12-week period is enough time to make profound progress, but not near enough that you lose that sense of urgency. 

(2) Only Focus 2-3 Goals 

This framework forces you to focus on being good at a few things, rather than mediocre at many. (Any time you add another goal, you dramatically reduce the probability that you’re going to be great at any of them. We are all limited beings with limited capacity!)

(3) Get Tactical! 

For most virtual advisors, plans and goals are conceptual, but they have no actionable items.

When you write an annual plan, it doesn’t look like a lot of work. 

But for each concept there might be 3-10 actions associated with executing that concept. And unless you get tactical, you’ll never know how much work is involved in the plan. Thus you won’t put yourself in a position to execute. 

You can’t execute concepts. You need to plan with tactics in mind. 

Does The 12 Week Year mean we don’t set a goal/vision for the entire year?

The short answer is no.

You start with the long-term in mind: What do you want your life to look like 5, 10, or 15 years in the future? 

Then you bring it into a 36-month vision.

Then, if you want, you can cast a 12-month vision.

But it always comes back to 12-week goals and monthly goals.

When you set these types of goals, the annual stuff becomes less important. 

The annual vision is fine, but don’t lock into it as the end-all be-all – you’re limiting yourself. The purpose of this framework is to think differently.

What Makes an Inspiring Vision?

Inspiring visions emerge when people stop and think about:

  • What they’re capable of;
  • What an exciting life would look like;
  • What captivates their minds; and
  • What would put their skills to best use.

So many of the top visions happen to be around impact, rather than money. (Money can fund the impact…but most people are focused on the impact they can have.)

If you don’t have your own vision, society is going to convince you to want what they want you to want. 

You have to get clear on what YOU desire! 

Why is The 12 Week Year formula so important today?

People are running ragged today – something that’s exacerbated by technology. 

There’s no margin left in the day. There’s no downtime. 

We seem to be consumed by this idea that ‘if we just do more, we’ll be happier.’ But this isn’t true. It really does nothing but add more stress. 

The environment we live in today doesn’t create the space needed to really get meaningful moments out of life. 

The 12 Week Year approach helps identify what matters to you, so that you can properly align your time with the right types of goals. It takes into account the understanding that we have limited time and capacity. 

It says: Let’s spend our time and capacity the way we want to spend it. 

Success isn’t about working harder. The person making 10-times as much as you isn’t working 10-times harder. They might actually be working less, but they’re working smarter. 

The answer is to step back, strip out the noise, and focus on being great at a few things.

What’s the difference between an execution system and yearly planning?

Systems always beat non-systems. If you want to replicate your success, you have to develop systems.

The one system that drives all of the rest is the execution system. A good execution system causes everything else to be more optimized. 

The execution system is the foundational system that runs everything. And the reason most people never accomplish their monthly goals or see their vision through, is that they don’t have execution. Instead, they’re relying on discipline and moving from one thing to the next. 

Think about a birthday cake. The cake itself is the operating system. The candles are different software. You can have great software and apps, but if the operating system isn’t working, they’re worthless. The 12 Week Year is the operating system. The candles are your different systems. 

Most people don’t have the right operating system in place, so they’re extremely prone to changes and trends (and they don’t know what to do with them). But if you can develop a good execution-based operating system, then you can adapt your systems fairly effortlessly. It becomes a “plug and play.”

The value of an execution system is that it optimizes every other system you have.

Why is having someone you’re accountable to so important as part of The 12 Week Year program?

Accountability is ownership. 

You’re not partnering with someone who is going to “hold you accountable.” If that’s your goal, you’re just shifting someone onto someone else’s plate. 

Having some people that you’re going to meet with on a regular basis to discuss how you’re doing is a different scenario. Those people aren’t there to hold you accountable – you’re showing up to be accountable

They’re going to challenge and encourage you.

Studies show that you’ll perform 7x-10x better with peer support than you will on your own. 

Find a group of 2-3 people and ask each other two questions each week:

  1. How are you doing against your goals?
  2. How are you doing with your execution?

The power of this accountability is that it forces you to take ownership and it makes you better. It forces you to go back to your vision, even when it’s uncomfortable.

How do virtual advisors respond in 2021?

So many people are done with 2020. They’re sick and tired of COVID and everything else that’s going on and they just want to turn the page on the calendar and get on with 2021. 

But the reality is that you woke up on January 1 and the world really isn’t that much different.

If 2021 is going to be a great year, it’s only because you made it a great year. It’s a mindset and, most importantly, an action.

According to Brian, success is bred from the right mindset plus the right actions and a whole lot of consistency. 

Discover Your 12 Week Plan in Just 2 Days

If you found yourself nodding along as you read this article – thinking ‘yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense’ – then I’ve got something you’re absolutely NOT going to want to miss.

It’s Brian’s 12 Week Year System Masterclass that’s taking place on January 14th and January 15th from 9am – 1pm each day.

And in this class, Brian and his team are going to walk you through the entire 12 Week Year System in incredible detail.

It’s the deep dive of deep dives.

He’s going to go through your vision, give you space to build your plan, and show you how to set up your execution system.

You’ll come out of this with a compelling vision and solid 12 week plan. And you’ll have the pieces you need to go ahead and execute that plan over the next 12 weeks.

Brian only does this event maybe once per year…it’s BIG.

In fact, it’s such a valuable two-day gathering that I’m personally showing up as a student, along with my leadership team, to learn more.

It’s less than $500 for both days – and that includes access to the recordings, workbooks, and a bunch  of other goodies. 

You can sign up and learn more by clicking HERE.

Make 2021 Your Year

We all start the year with excitement, anticipation, and dreams of what the next 12 months could look like.

But if you want to make this year different, I’d encourage you to zoom in a bit more.

And rather than focusing on the next 12 months, do what thousands of other advisors and business owners are doing and prioritize the next 12 weeks.

If you do that, I can pretty much guarantee you’re going to get better results.

Want more cutting edge tips, tactics, and frameworks that are empowering advisors like you to build successful appointment engines that generate $50,000+ per month? 

Sign up for the FREE Virtual Advisor Power Hour and make it a goal to attend for each of the next 12 weeks!

Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah is the founder and CEO of Advisorist® and is a 23-time award winning financial marketer, a TED speaker and philanthropist. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNN, and Worth. His work has generated over $2 million insurance leads and helped advisors in over 51 countries generate over $300 million in sales commissions. He is the author of the best selling book, SHIFT.

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