By Vera Anderson
As a fund manager, your job is 24/7 now. Traditional days start when European markets are closing, and end as the Asian markets are opening. Your reality? There’s always a market open somewhere, opportunities are in constant flow. And each day you need to support investors and measurably increase your Alpha.
Inevitably, stress eats away at your health, your performance, your sense of satisfaction and your personal relationships. Even though things are moving, you are not feeling the exponential growth you are working so hard to achieve.
You’ve probably read all the articles for reducing stress and increasing performance: meditation, breathwork, structured daily routines, tactical performance tips. But when market volatility has you and your clients on the edge, taking deep breaths and having a perfect morning routine do not always provide sufficient antidote to the stress and pressure.
If you are seeking a comprehensive solution to manage stress and exponentially scale your business and personal life, the following fundamentals will show you the way.
#1: Start with your extraordinary vision
How big is your vision for your business, your life, the impact you want to make? If you want to grow exponentially, you have to set your sights on your extraordinary vision first.
What is an extraordinary vision? The 4-minute mile was unthinkable until Roger Bannister did it. Putting a man on the moon was unthinkable until Neil Armstrong made the first footprint. Starting a human colony on Mars was unthinkable until Elon Musk proclaimed it as his vision.
What is the “extraordinary” you want to tackle? Is it a statement, a visual representation, a belief you hold? Whatever form it comes in, challenge yourself to give it voice and feel the power of this vision.
See yourself confidently stepping onto that stage to present your fund. Feel the excitement of connecting with a new client. Feel the certainty as you make critical decisions about your business and life. Feel the success!
If you are completely authentic as you create this vision, you should feel exhilarated and energized, ready to tackle the next stage. If you feel resistance, friction or strain while thinking of your big vision, you are trying to fulfill someone else’s dreams and desires for you. Let them go and recalibrate.
Instead of settling for 10% annual increases, set your sights on your extraordinary: successful fund with double digit Alpha, the most talented staff, functional family-like partnerships, and deeply connected investor relationships – a business that is innovative, exciting, and easy. Then build a plan to accomplish that vision.
#2: Ask yourself the right question
Once you have set your extraordinary vision, the next question you need to answer is “Who do I have to become to achieve it?”
The future You who is successfully executing on your extraordinary vision is quite different from the person you are today, otherwise you would have already achieved it. Explore the attributes of this future You, without making any judgements. What does that person have in their arsenal that you do not yet possess?
Is it stronger leadership skills? Is it the ability to attract and build an advanced, reliable supporting team and clearly communicate so there are no misunderstandings? Is it the ability to read investors, discern their fears and desires, regardless of the words they use, and create a connection to win their trust?
Run through all the scenarios you face today through the eyes and skills of this future persona and consider how he or she would handle them. Then expand beyond: what areas of the vision is this individual handling with ease that you are not yet engaged in? What skills and talents are needed for those areas?
Practicing these advanced traits and operating from a place of having already achieved the success, will make a difference in the way you make decisions today, moving you closer to your targets. That awareness and positioning will help you advance more quickly as you develop the skills or find support to delegate.
#3: Bridge the gap between the present and future you
The gap between who you are today and who you need to become is filled with conscious and subconscious self-limiting beliefs – our stories or mental models that we develop over the course of our lives.
We’re all born with an operating system that runs at maximum capacity. But over time, as we grow and have experiences, we overlay software that slows down our operating system. Think of anti-virus software. Having McAfee or Avast to protect you from viruses is a smart survival strategy. But, they limit what you can or can’t do with your computer.
If the operating system is your mind, the software are the mental models we develop as we grow up. The intention behind mental models is to keep us “safe”. But the more we rely on them as adults, the more they restrict us instead of provide the protection we seek. The threats we faced earlier in life no longer exist in our experience.
These mental models cut down on our creative thinking and problem solving abilities which we need when dealing with dynamic markets. Instead they introduce rigidity and friction and this translates into stress.
Mental models come in the form of a story we tell ourselves and others. For instance, “Every time I get ahead, some external factor comes along and wrecks my plans.” Replaying this story creates a loop. It may take weeks or months or even years to complete, but the outcome is always the same, a sense of loss backed up by tangible evidence. We start treating this statement as an absolute truth, there is “safety” and certainty in it, even though it does not produce the desired outcome.
To break this cycle, you have to introduce doubt or the possibility of a different outcome. Ask yourself “Is this story 100% true? Have there been instances to prove otherwise?” 99.99999% of the time the answer will be “NO”, it’s not 100% true.
From there you can start reinterpreting events in a different light, creating more flexibility and new outcomes. This is not a simple fix: it is a life-long practice, as we have millions of personal stories, from the smallest daily routine to the biggest life events, that reinforce these untrue beliefs. Everything is categorized, interpreted, and labled.
By introducing flexibility to your mental models, you create openings for change and access to being the person who achieves extraordinary results.
#4: Take tiny steps each day
As you are working on bridging the gap in your mental models, this next step helps you pivot from reflection to action. This is where things start happening in an unorthodox fashion and where you build momentum.
Dream big – but take small, consistent steps.
All the work required to achieve your extraordinary vision can feel overwhelming if you look at it from today’s perspective with your current mindset. A more manageable approach is to come from the future, put yourself into the mindset of a person who has already achieved success, and from that vantage point consider a tiny step you can take today to bring you closer to your extraordinary vision.
For example, if your extraordinary is to expand your fund to serve more clients, that translates into raising capital. You might think, “I need to make at least 10 prospect calls a day to scale quickly.”
That’s simply not sustainable given your other day-to-day obligations, demands on your time, and unforeseen circumstances. If you’re unable to make the 10 calls for a day or two, a subtle sense of dissatisfaction starts settling in. Even though you are still making the best effort to stay on track, a sense of falling behind becomes more prevalent. In reality, you are making strides, but your perception is already skewed.
Instead, commit to speaking with just one prospect a day. Every day, allow for a name to come to you and reach out to that person. Consider the opportunities each call may lead to: an invitation to an event, an introduction to an industry leader, a speaking engagement… If you can stick with this one-call commitment, by the end of the year, you will make 365 connections. That will have an exponential impact on your business. (Disclaimer: This advice assumes that you follow all of the current regulations for marketing.)
No matter how small, keep taking daily action. Consistency is the key to exponential results.
#5: Find support in your network
The best athletes in the world have a coach and a supporting team of professionals. These people are experts at assisting the athlete with tactical and mental fitness in order to achieve their extraordinary goals, wearing the gold medal or raising the championship trophy.
It is no different in the business world. Those who are at the top of their game have support: coaches, mastermind groups, advisors and mentors.
It is hard to identify and see through our own stories and mental models, and many times we become blind to them. It’s essential to have an unbiased and trustworthy person to support, challenge and assist as you navigate through your mind.
Find an accountability partner who can see through your stories and point you toward the truth, stop losing time and take control!
At the end of this process, should you engage in executing these fundamentals, you will find yourself in a different place. For some it leads to financial success with less friction along the way; for others, a complete shift in priorities and a sense of relief. Others rediscover the energy and zest for life they lost along the way. There are no guarantees, except that you will have an opportunity to reclaim control of your life and accelerate your growth.
Vera Anderson is a Performance Coach, working with elite CEOs and International Executives. To learn more about Vera’s work, please visit: https://www.globalelementsconsulting.com/ Connect on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vera-anderson/ or via email: Vera@GlobalElementsConsulting.com