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Becoming president of your own world

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It’s about that time when the politicians and, well, everyone make their first big judgment of the new U.S. president — the first 100 days. It seems an absurd and random bar to expect someone to change everything that’s wrong in our universe in three months and 10 days or so, but that’s the yardstick we’ve used for decades, no matter how impractical. Newspapers, magazines and TV talk shows will be filled with people babbling on about how President Obama has done in these first few months, as if it’s an excellent predictor of his future performance. Whether it is or isn’t misses the point. What’s important is that we think it is and that is all that counts. And so, we place the president’s activity under a microscope and rip it apart. You’re subject, especially in this economy, to this same intense scrutiny. You’re kind of the president of your own world.

As president, it’s useful for you to understand something about us fickle human beings: We have a tendency to set higher standards of the people serving us than the standards we would set for ourselves. After all, we think, “why would I hire you if I could do it myself?” That’s what successful advisors and service professionals answer every day. They welcome the hawk-eye examination of their work because it inspires them to be even better than they already are — to try something else. Anyone can make it in a booming economy, but it’s only the truly committed and creative who will make it in this one.

Here are some tips for you to succeed in your next 100 days and beyond:

  • Clients want something to happen. Try something. Sitting tight and doing nothing, as it’s been advised in the financial world so often, is a sure way to be deemed a lazy and ineffective president. Clients want to see some activity on your part and on their behalf.
  • Create the news. As president, you need to make your own news. If you’re mired in bad news, do something new and good today so you can report good news.
  • Keep current and show the upside. The economy is bad, but it’s not ALL bad. Show them how. Investing feels scary, but there are safe investments. Guide them there. You don’t have all of the answers. Work like crazy to find them.

Above all, try something.


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