Good Things Come to Those Who Initiate

Good Things Come to Those Who Initiate

I bet you know the person we’re about to describe.


He/she is dissatisfied with the way things are in the office and feels compelled to let you know - repeatedly.

Day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month, they’re:  

  • upset with the boss,
  • frustrated with co-workers,
  • certain they are getting the short end of the stick,
     

and remarkably, not compelled to do anything about it.

We’ve always been baffled by co-workers like this. It’s as if they’ve turned over their career to everyone around them and are later miffed that things aren’t going their way.

While this is an extreme (but very real) example, we’ve found variations of these same symptoms in many ambitious and otherwise successful people. In fact, we have had seasons in our own careers where we began to spin in the self-pity cycle.

So why is it that people fall into the “good things happen to those who wait” mentality?

There are a lot of reasons.

  • Lack of formal career development opportunities
  • The boss never asks about their aspirations
  • Absence of mentors
  • Complacency:  doing nothing is easier than doing something
  • Self-doubt and fear of failure
     

It’s sad because it’s a recipe for career disaster that should be avoided at all costs.

Good things come to those who initiate


You’ve already initiated many aspects of your professional journey. You went to school, picked up a degree or two, perhaps some professional designations. You applied for jobs and were hired. You get the picture.

You made it this far, so why not go further?

What is it that you’re looking to accomplish? Are you hoping to build a new skillset? Get experience in working with a new type of software? Try your hand at leadership? Find a new job?

When you initiate you make conscious choices to move in the direction of your aspirations

It’s the difference between being the driver or the passenger.


The passenger can sit back and relax, take in the scenery or take a nap - but they have no  control over how long it will take to arrive at the destination - or if they arrive at all. 

The driver, on the other hand, can choose the scenic route or the freeway, elect to stop at every roadside attraction or drive straight through. She may be tired when she arrives but she will have driven the course of her choosing to the destination of her choice.

So, you can hope someone will hand you an opportunity, or you can take steps to make that thing you’re looking to accomplish actually happen. And there are lots of ways to do that.

  • Communicate with your manager and peers. They were not hired to be mind-readers. If you don’t make your interests known, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will figure it out and be able to help you.
  • Make a plan and write it down. This is critical when your goal is something bigger and more multifaceted like earning a promotion or finding a new job. Once your plan is written, ask a mentor or someone you respect professionally to review and discuss it with you. You’ll not only get feedback but the act of sharing it will make your goal seem real and less ephemeral.
  • Have an open attitude. An interesting thing happens when you begin to initiate. As you take action to move in the direction of your goal, others begin to respond, sharing ideas and information. And sometimes, if you’re open, the conversations that ensue lead to new opportunities.
  • Believe in yourself. You made it this far, of course you can go further. We all have self-doubt. Nobody likes to fail. Push through all of that and initiate - and don’t ever stop.
     

One of our most trusted mentors told us long ago that choice not chance determines your destiny. “What are you waiting for?” she said to us, “Get busy doing it!”

If you know someone who would benefit from this post please share it.

Houtman | Domenighini
Human Performance
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Jill Houtman and Danny Domenighini are partners at Coffee and Pints, an unconventional professional development blog. The partnership was formed in response to their personal ... Click for full bio

Advisors: How to Prepare Before Calling an Agency

Advisors: How to Prepare Before Calling an Agency

Written by: 

You’ve read my other posts:

Related: Should You Work with a Marketing or PR Agency, or Neither?

Related: There's No Point in Paying for Outside Advice If You Have No Intention of Listening to It

And you’re finally ready to talk to a marketing or PR agency.

Or are you?

I’m amazed how many prospects contact an agency without any advance preparation whatsoever. It’s not just that they don’t know what services the agency offers. The real issue is, they can’t even explain why they’re calling in the first place.

You might be raising an eyebrow at my suggestion that you actually need to prepare before calling a vendor. Don’t. I want to help you maximize your time, and potential investment.

Here’s why: The best way to use a vendor’s time during an initial call is to conduct a mini-discovery session. At FiComm, we will ask: What is your vision for your business? How do your services address your market’s needs? Where are you headed as a company? What will get you to the next level? What marketing obstacles do you face? That information shapes our remarks, ensuring that everything we say will be directly relevant to you.

Many advisors find those initial conversations enormously valuable in their own right. They help clarify their thinking. But others feel put on the spot. They freeze. They respond in standard brochure-speak: “We were founded in 1984, we have four advisors, we serve 200 households with an average account size of $400,000.”

Or they say, “We were hoping you would tell us the answers to those questions.”

Well, that’s helpful.

Imagine you’re meeting a potential wealth management client for the first time. They have $700,000 in a brokerage account, $400,000 in a retirement account, two kids, a dog and a house in L.A. Great. You start by asking their goals for themselves, their money, and their family.

Puzzled, they tilt their heads and say, “We were hoping you would tell us.”

See what I mean? How can you possibly come up with a solution for clients who can’t even articulate their goals, or speak to their financial pain points?

The same is true for us vendors. Before we can help you, we need to know where your business is going and how you think marketing can help you get there. The answers don’t have to be “right” (and we’ll help you get there), but it you come prepared to participate, our conversations can be very fruitful. If you don’t—well, it’s hard to deliver value for you. We know we’ll constantly have to prove ourselves and remind you why you hired us.

“But, Megan,” some advisors say, “we’re not ready for that. We’re just trying to understand the basics. How will we learn if you don’t tell us?”

If you’re calling an agency just to get a general marketing education, then that’s what you’ll get—general information, most of it irrelevant to you, and lacking the specifics you’re really looking for.

So, don’t call an agency to be your marketing tutor. Instead, read. Advisors have never had better access to self-help insights and information—through trade pubs, custodian relationships, blogs, podcasts, other advisors and industry pundits. Be curious. Be inquisitive. If you hear something on a podcast that intrigues you, follow the host back to LinkedIn. Read what they write there. Email your questions. Attend a webinar. Be an active participant at industry events.

At some point, you’ll understand the basics. You’ll have identified your own issues. And narrowed down your questions. Then, finally, you’ll be ready to call an agency.

Instead of saying, “Tell us what we need,” you’ll say, “We need help with this.

Megan Carpenter
Marketing
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Megan is CEO & Co-Founder at FiComm Partners, LLC. Her team develops winning communications strategies for entrepreneurs in the independent advisory community, and busines ... Click for full bio