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How Advisors Can Build a Toolkit for Success

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Commonwealth Financial founder and Chairman Joe Deitch, whose recently published book “Elevate: An Essential Guide to Life” inspired the firm’s conference theme this year, told attendees that “every decision we make establishes intent,” and “we need to work on ourselves first” before we choose which goals to pursue.

After his presentation in Austin, Deitch said that becoming a successful author has given him “an extraordinary opportunity to share ideas with people, especially one on one.”

When did he begin working on the project? “The germ was planted long ago, when I wanted to figure out the world, or at least try to do so,” he said in an earlier interview. Over the years, he saw many adults with unhealthy relationships, eating habits and more, prompting him to ask, “What’s wrong?”

“This awakened me to the fact that people are often blind, biased and shortsighted, including me,” he explained. “We go through life and assume that what we see is what it [really] is. But me, a guy who grew up in the Northeast, white, I don’t know what it is like to be black, Asian, etc. I began a search to embrace the wisdom of world, to see, explore and ask — what is the connective tissue between all of us?”

This thinking led him to read the Bible, Shakespeare and the Web. “I became fascinated with the fundamental framework to wisdom and shortcuts or fast lanes to innovation,” the Commonwealth chairman said.

Next, he became interested in the question of why we do not do what we should do, engaging in self-help steps that can improve our lives. In tai chi, for instance, practitioners focus on rooting — “bringing energy to the body to make you stronger and redirecting that energy,” according to the executive.

The same concept applies to windsurfing, tennis, business, communications, organizations and other structures. “There’s always a flow of energy, and you have to be attuned to it, in relationships and overall. It’s a part of a fundamental skill set for all we do,” said Deitch.

“If you understand a broader range of fundamental skills that apply to everything, it allows us to realize we can do anything. That changes everything … it’s a stairway of success. What we need to do is to elevate our self-image, to disprove that you are limited and prove that you are better than you think you are,” he explained.

Some individuals may think they are “great at business” but not so great at their family or other relationships. “But the skill sets for business success and for success in personal relationship is the same, involving clarity around goals, proper rewards, coaching, regular updates …,” the author said. “It’s also about understanding [one’s own] limits and embracing them.”

If we accept the fact that we are limited and biased in our own unique ways, we can stop saying “no” to different perspectives and start saying: “That is interesting. I see it a different way. I respect your experience, so what is it that I am missing?” according to Deitch.

By being open to information, another person may trust you more, and “a cascade of things might happen,” he adds. “By seeing things with only one pathway, we limit ourselves with our bias.”

Among the tasks that the Commonwealth chairman sees as incredibly powerful are: ask and receive, listen and learn, motivate and get what you want, leverage and lead, appreciate and make every moment a miracle, and refine and elevate.

In Austin, Deitch told the conference audience that he starts everyday by focusing on several things he is grateful for, an exercise that he finds very beneficial. As he says near the end of his book: “A positive and powerful appreciation of all and everything keeps us going, keeps us open-minded, and keeps us loving … Why choose gloomy or pessimistic when glorious accomplishes so much more?”