by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA
Your feet are pounding the pavement and sweat is dripping down your face. You long ago lost track of what mile you are on. Is it 13? Or maybe 15? It all feels so hazy. You know you have a long way to go in this marathon. You dig deep for more energy to keep going as you take a sip of water.
Is this sensation of what it feels like to slog through your practice? I often hear people recite, "This business is a marathon, not a sprint" and then they sigh and wish they could find the fire within. What if your practice does not have to be a marathon? That is only one type of running, right? I think there is certainly room along with the marathoners for some sprinters, joggers and people rolling along with baby joggers. Why not? If you knew you could travel the distance in your own way would that give you more energy for the career?
Good news. You can.
If you are not a marathoner, consider focused bursts of sprinting. You can set this up by scheduling periods of intense activity followed by rest, vacation and time out of the business. Sprinters are good at hopping back on the blocks at the end of the rest period and giving it their all knowing that another break is around the corner. The duration of the sprints and breaks should be set by the Financial Representative (FR) and may coincide with holidays, company events and travel.
Not up for the sprint? Try jogging the practice. Establish a pace in your practice that is completely sustainable for you as an individual. Set daily activity minimums. By achieving a little bit every day you can feel positive about your consistent progress. For example, if you know that every single day you will not leave the office without doing at least 10 dials (maybe more if you feel like it) that's so much better than powering out 40 one day and then not dialing for weeks. Figure out a pace you can stick with and stay in the zone.
Have a baby jogger along for the ride? If you have commitments outside of your practice such as being a parent, caregiver or other activities that are very important to you, you may thrive by weaving your life and your practice together. Bring your family to Northwestern Mutual events, tell your family your goals and celebrate with them and blend your time at work and life together based on your natural rhythms. You may benefit from the natural pressure on your calendar of having to come and go at certain times by using your resources very wisely. Set strong boundaries and be choosey with what you commit yourself to.
If you are running the marathon and sometimes you feel tired and like quitting, don't give up! That's normal. It's hard to run a marathon. Running a practice is an exceptional endeavor that you've taken on. Give yourself permission to take really good care of yourself, show yourself compassion when it's hard and take the occasional breather. Anchor to what is really important to you and why you're doing it in the first place! No matter how you run the race, you can get to the finish line in your own way. Be true to that and you are likely to rekindle the spark that caused you to sign up for this crazy wild ride in the first place! Ready, set...go!
Coaching Tip Not sure what really motivates you? Try this. If you had no choice but to suddenly leave your practice, what would you miss most of all? Write down everything you can think of. These are the aspects of your practice that really matter to you. Draw from them to drive yourself.