Personal Development
Forget Resolutions -- What's Your Mission?
Tuesday, January 03, 2012 13:42

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." Proverbs 29:18

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Happy New Year to you! A new year, a new beginning. If you're like most people, you've probably flirted around with New Year's resolutions. You've said, "THIS is the year I'm gonna lose weight and get in shape. Starting January 1st, no more snacking. I'm joining the health club and I'm gonna work out daily. I may even do my first marathon." What happens? By February 1st (the latest ...) you're back on the junk food regimen, you've been to the club a total of 5 times (you're "just too busy to get there") and you've filed that marathon application in the trash. And you've concluded, "Resolutions don't work for me." (You've got a lot of company on that one ...)

Maybe you need a better approach. Instead of making a mental resolution, create a Mission Statement. The difference?  A Mission Statement is:

  • a hand written or typed out paragraph
  • has specific, measurable outcomes
  • has a deadline -- in this case, December 31st

Give this simple written exercise a try on your own -- if you need some help let me know.  They you won't need to make any more fruitless resolutions -- you'll be like The Blues Brothers, on "a Mission from God."

Visit Jim Rohrbach on the web at

Get Rid Of Goals And Go For Constant Improvement
Friday, December 16, 2011 13:50

Tags: goals | strategic planning

Many strategic planning people recommend that when doing planning it’s important to put together a five-year or longer plan.  I’m wondering whether the five-year plan makes sense anymore.

The world is changing so fast that long-term planning almost seems a little silly.  I have no idea what my business is going to look like five years from now.  I don’t know what the actions of the regulators will be, I don’t know what the economy is going to look like and I certainly don’t know what will be most important for me to concentrate on.

I do know I’ll still be working within my corporate purpose.  Our corporate purpose is to help make our clients lives better.  I do know that five and ten years from now that will still be the reason we work with clients and the reason they work with us.  I don’t know what the specifics are, but as long as I concentrate on what’s important to our clients, we’ll still have a viable product clients will be interested in.

Action step:  Make sure you have a good corporate purpose that is short and can be integrated into everything you do.

I do know that constant improvement will continue to be important.  One of my major problems with strategic planning is putting goals together.  I hate goals.  You either are successful or you’re not.  If you’re successful, what’s next?  If not, then you get to be a loser.

Instead of having goals, why don’t we just go for constant improvement?  I suggest that we understand where we are now.  We find that out by having great measurements that give us good feedback.  We then need to assemble a system for tracking improvement.

Action step:  Put together a great measurement system so you can track improvement in your company.

I learn more from mistakes than doing it right.  It’s just as important to know when we aren’t getting improvement.  Without good metrics we can’t understand progress that we’re making.  Mistakes or backwards improvement give us an opportunity to deeply analyze what we’re doing. 

When improvement doesn’t happen we must take a look at what we’re doing and more importantly, what we can change.  It’s in the change that we can reverse a downward trend and start seeing improvement that we all want.

Action step:  Learn to celebrate or at least accept mistakes for bringing the value they do to our lives.

Under any circumstance, lets stop doing long-term planning and start moving in the right direction.  I’m more interested in making sure we’re going in the right direction than coming up with a hypothetical success. 

My belief is that movement in the right direction is always more important than the destination.  In my experience the destination is likely to change, but moving in the right direction is always moving in the right direction.

What are your thoughts about long-term planning?  Do you think it’s the right thing to do or is constant improvement more important?

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Three Keys to Prosperity in the Holiday Season
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 20:51

 And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” — The Beatles

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As we approach the holidays, many people have become jaded about “the spirit of the season,” as they experience the crass commercialism that pervades our society. If you’ve felt a touch of “bah humbug!” this time of year, I’ve got a “prescription” of three practices that will help you bring back the joy to your world.  In order to be happy, you must refrain from "When" thinking:  "When I get to Premier Advisor, when I get out of debt, when I shoot par, etc. -- then I'll be happy."  "When" thinking is very common, so don't think you're unusual, weird or crazy if you indulge in it.  Practice the three keys below and you'll be happy today, and more likely to become a Premier Advisor, get out of debt and be in great shape.  And you'll enjoy the ride.


Being generous is not necessarily about money — it’s about giving. So what kind of “love” can you generate (same root as generous) each day that doesn’t involve any cash outlay? Some examples: a compliment to a co-worker on a job well done, a gentle caress to your loved ones, and perhaps most importantly, a compassionate listening ear to a friend. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. It is all about showing empathy for others’ pain. And, what does that cost you? Answer: NADA! But this kind of deposit into another’s “emotional bank account” will pay you big dividends.


As I write these words (forgive my lack of sophistication — I always start with pen and paper), the morning sun is shining down on me as I sip my cup of coffee ... and I took a moment to say, “Thank you!” Now ... does that sound corny or lame to you? This is a habit I've developed — of regularly saying thanks in my life for all the good that comes my way. Because, if you think about it, there are an infinite number of things that are going RIGHT in the world right now, if we just take a moment to acknowledge our blessings: every breath we take, the food we eat, the friends we have, etc. How hard is it for you to say, “Thank you ... I appreciate that” once in a while? Answer: NOT HARD. So why not start today?


Finally, who are you angry with?  GET OVER IT, for your own sake, not theirs. Because holding a grudge only hurts you, not the person you’re upset with. I was formerly a world-class grudge holder, expending a lot of emotional energy thinking bad thoughts about others I thought needed to live up to my expectations. Once I learned this was blocking me from moving forward, I quickly let go of this “grudge energy” so I could be free to put that energy to better use. So who do you need to forgive today? Don't wait — it costs too much.

Keep in mind that prosperity is not an event — it’s an ongoing process. And, it has little to do with the size of your bank account. If you proactively engage in these three practices I’m recommending here on a daily basis, and make them habits, you’ll not only get into the spirit of the season — you’ll become prosperous in all the seasons of your life.


Happy Holidays!

Visit Jim Rohrbach on the web at

To Succeed Beyond Your Wildest Expectations, Start With Some Pretty Wild Expectations
Thursday, December 01, 2011 10:12

You’ve got a vision. You’re thinking big. You’ve set specific, measurable goals. You’re taking action and yet, you’re still not seeing the results you would like. What do you do?

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Take out your 2011 business plan, the one you created a year ago with good intentions of setting the world afire.
Next, write down all the obstacles you encountered in trying to achieve this past year’s financial goals.
Now, take your financial goal for 2012 and double it. Yes, double it.
I know what you’re thinking. “I didn’t come close to achieving my goal for this past year, and you want me to double it for next year? What kind of sense does that make?"
I'll tell you why it make sense.

Facde with not achieving their goals, most advisors will either keep knocking their head against the same wall, compromise their goals, or give up altogether. But those options violate the first rule of goal setting, which is to think big.


It doesn’t say think big unless things get difficult or even frustrating, and then it’s OK to think small and shrink from your dreams.

When you come up against obstacles, you might not always be able to find a solution because you are looking in the wrong place. You're not searching high enough. Your attention is stuck on lower levels of thinking.
Einstein said, “You cannot solve a problem on the same level of consciousness that created it. You must rise above it to the next level.”
When you open up your mind to achieving seemingly impossible goals, you might suddenly pick up on ideas, meet people, go places, and do things you would not have done otherwise.
Point is, to succeed beyond your wildest expectations, you must start with some pretty wild expectations. Most advisors are taught to be problem solvers, but not to use their imagination. But creativity is a key element in success, even in financial advising.
To change your behavior you must first change your thinking. You must have a shift in consciousness. If you try to change your behavior without first changing your thoughts, it will just be a strain.
Rather than just thinking outside the box, get rid of the box altogether. Success is a state of mind. 
Here’s to your record breaking 2012.


You Always Have A Choice
Sunday, November 27, 2011 08:39

Tags: choice | honesty | integrity

We again have another scandal rocking our front pages on morality.  People who are in positions of power should have taken steps they didn’t take.  I’m referring to the circus that is swirling around the lack of actions taken by Penn State leaders.

All too often we take the easy way out.  We justify how we behave and take the low road.  Whether it’s because of money, friendship or just plain inconvenience, we are always faced with choices we can make around honesty.

Here is a lesson I learned about choices and honesty.  I made this decision a little over fifteen years ago.  It’s still one of the proudest points in my life.

My family was in the vending and food service business for almost thirty years.  During this time we were a very proud company.  We provided our customers with quality food service at a reasonable price.  Everyone in our company worked very hard to deliver on this promise.

When we first started in the business there was no such thing as commissions to the locations where we provided service.  As the years went by and new locations that didn’t have vending and food service dried up, some companies started paying rebates to locations known as commissions.  The commissions were intended as a form of rent or incentive for a company to do business with a particular vending company.

The vending business eventually became a zero sum game.  There were very few new manufacturing plants being built and the level of commission payments started to increase.  Eventually the promised commission percentages rose to a level where staying in business and not cheating on your promise to your customers was becoming more and more difficult to do.

Even the software companies that provided vending management systems had double books as part of their software systems.  We could if we choose have one set of books that were real and another that showed lower sales which allowed lower commission payments be paid to customers.

Slowly, we decided to exit one segment of the vending business after another.  Eventually I had a decision to make.  Continue in the vending business and start cheating or sell the company and do something else.

I choose to make a personal pivot in my career, sell our family business and move on to a new career.  The easy choice would have been to set up double books like many other vending companies.  I just decided that cheating was not in my DNA and put my company up for sale.

As it turns out leaving the vending business was a very good personal move for me.  I was able to stay true to my morals and start a new career that I’ve enjoyed a great deal more than being in the vending business.

What sort of moral dilemma’s have you faced in your life?  What were the choices or non-choices that you made and why?

Josh Patrick

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