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Baby Steps Help Start on Long Road to Success

It’s important to set long-term goals and a big-picture vision for your practice if you want to achieve success.

Imagine where you’d like to be in your personal, professional and public relationships. If it seems unattainable or years down the line, don’t get discouraged and give up. Implementing milestones and simple daily victories will help move you forward, build momentum and amplify your actions and intentions toward success.

Develop positive habits you can practice every day to gain control over your long-term goals and causes. Much like compound interest, victories you achieve on a daily basis build on each other and increase your capabilities. Each day, your victories will bring you one step closer to your overall goal. Find ways to reward yourself for achieving daily victories along the way. This reinforces the behavior and is more effective than waiting until you’ve reached the end goal to reward yourself.


Setting Goals and Defining Causes

To achieve your goals, it’s important to align them with causes that strongly reflect your passions and resonate on multiple levels. The more importance and meaning you attach to your goals, the more likely you are to work toward them on a daily basis. Deep degrees of connectivity between your values and long-term goals will give your actions purpose and make you a happier person.

Your goals are limitless and likely diverse, but will typically fall into one of three categories: personal life, professional life and public persona. Below are a few personal examples of daily victories I’ve enacted to achieve success.



Physical fitness is important for most professionals, and it is particularly important to me. I start each morning with healthy habits to stay in shape and remain a healthy, happy person. While my coffee percolates, I hold a plank for six minutes (or longer), and then reward myself with a cup to reinforce the behavior. When I started this ritual, I was able to hold a plank for only 30 seconds, but I built up my strength and endurance over time. Simple habits in your everyday life have a domino impact over time.



Success comes from investing in your professional network and your industry, which enables you to perform at a high level. Each day, I invest in my practice by learning more about the industry and communicating with contacts.

I take a half-hour to read journals and trade publications each morning over coffee, and I make at least 10 business-related telephone calls before I let myself leave for the office. I dedicate my time to productivity and set myself up for success early in the day. I’m more informed and actively develop and maintain business relationships, which bolsters my practice.



Seek out industry associations and networking opportunities to shape your goals at a high level. For me, the Million Dollar Round Table membership provides rich opportunities designed for my success. I’m able to surround myself with successful professionals, participate in study groups and seminars, and even give back to meaningful causes. If you’re not ready for MDRT, invest your time and money in professional and industry communities that encourage you to engage and grow in the industry and set your mind up for success.

It’s difficult for most financial professionals to segment their days and achieve work-life balance — especially for those who own their own practice. As our lives are so intermingled, it’s easier to find balance in daily behaviors rather than black and white areas. Decide as you go along whether opportunities and actions fit into your plan and will bring you closer to your dreams and goals or if they’ll derail your progress. You have the power to bring everything into alignment and avoid problems.


John F. Nichols, CLU, MSM is Founder of Disability Resource Group Inc., a provider of disability products and services. He serves as NAIFA Secretary and is a Life and Qualifying MDRT member with two Court of the Table and four Top of the Table honors. [email protected].

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