The hardest part of working with business owners is getting them to understand that, nine times out of 10, they are the problem.

Usually they want things to be different. They want clients to listen better, accept and act on their advice.

They want their employees to work harder, be smarter and have more dedication to the success of the business. And they (of course) want the markets to be more predictable.

Finally, the business owners want to be different themselves. They look around at other advisors with larger firms or who appear to be more successful, and they want to be more like them.

Don’t get me wrong: There’s nothing wrong with having goals or admiring other firms. Unless, of course, if those goals and admiration increase your stress levels and decrease your motivation and effectiveness as a business owner.

But here’s the catch: If your business is stressing you out, chances are the problem is you — and not the business.

To get business owners on a more successful track, I encourage them to be “more accepting” of the way things are right now. This means focusing on seeing their business (and the stock market) the way it is in the present.

The same goes for their clients, employees and even themselves.

This is because the most successful strategy I’ve found for making things better is to accept them the way they are today — and then to work on further improving them for the future.

To embrace this strategy, it’s also important to accept the fact that you can’t yourself change overnight. You can,though, learn from the process.

Plus, you can use this new knowledge to make better decisions about what you need to do next, such as calling clients, preparing new initiatives and taking advantage of the opportunities that are now in front of you.

Yes, it’s easier to simply have someone tell you what to do, but this is not your best option.

I see my job as helping advisors become better business owners, which involves making sound decisions about their firms today and tomorrow. To do that, owners have to learn to get past what they cannot control in the here and now.

As we begin 2019, it’s a good time to have a vision of where you want to take your business. But again, beware of getting too attached to that vision throughout the coming year.

Circumstances may change, or you may change your mind. But through it all, keep your firm flexible enough to change when it needs to.

Some of the best advice that a business consultant can give you is to let go, don’t get too attached to your 2019 strategic vision and keep focused on what matters most for your business success today and through Dec. 31, 2019.