Dream or Reality: Achieving Work-Life Balance as an Advisor

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Dream or Reality: Achieving Work-Life Balance as an Advisor

It sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Achieving work-life balance as a financial advisor.

Is it just a dream? Or can it be reality? Can you have a successful financial advisory career as well as balance in your personal life?

It can be seemingly overwhelming to handle the day-to-day demands of clients, managing a business, voicemail and email boxes that are always full of messages, while juggling to maintain a family, personal and social life.

According to FlexShare’s Insights into Advisor Wellness study, financial advisors report an average stress level that is 23% higher than the average American.

With findings like these, financial advisors must take measures to improve their overall wellness and work-life balance without it being detrimental to their health and wellbeing.

Follow our Practice Management center to differentiate yourself with new ideas and build enduring client relationships.

Both Are Not Equal

So, what is work-life balance anyway?

“Work-life balance” has become a commonly overused and somewhat annoying term to describe the balancing act that professionals need between their time allocated to do their job and family, social and leisure activities.

The term can trigger an eye roll for many because it seems to imply that work and life is meant to be balanced or equal. It is certainly not reality to have equal parts of work and life. Both are not equal.

The key is to find as much time as possible, however, to do the things that make you happy. These are the things that truly bring you joy and fulfillment. This definition is very different for every financial advisor.

Ultimately. you must uncover your purpose. What fills your proverbial cup? What is your “why?” Why do you do what you do? Take some time to reflect and write down these things, if you can’t easily identify them off the top of your head.

The Balance Wheel

Many life coaches use a tool you may be familiar with called the Wheel of Life, or the Balance Wheel. The concept was created by Paul Meyer, the creator of the Success Motivation Institute. He was also the originator of the concept of “life coaching.”

If you haven’t used this tool before, it can be powerful if you are seeking work-life balance. It essentially provides you with a visual representation of your current life in comparison to your ideal life.

Start by drawing a large circle or a wheel on your paper. Within the wheel draw 10 circles, one inside of one another, so that it looks like a bulls-eye. Each circle represents a ranking from 1-10.

Now, draw 8 spokes coming out of the wheel and label each spoke with the following topics: Career, Personal Growth, Love, Family, Friends, Fun & Leisure, Money and Health.

Next, score yourself in each category by making a dot on each spoke with 1 representing the lowest and 10 the highest. Finally, connect all of the dots.

Once you have connected the dots on the wheel, ask yourself if this were an actual wheel would you be able to drive? If you are like most people, then probably not. Next, ask yourself what areas are the most obvious to you that are out of balance in your life?

Start Small

Once you have identified the areas that are the most out of whack on your balance wheel, identify and implement small changes to begin achieving greater balance in your life.

Once you experience success, you can work on implementing bigger changes. Give yourself room for forgiveness and remember to stay committed.

Managing Stress

When advisors’ stress levels are reported as significantly higher than the national norm, it is important to have proper coping strategies to deal with these stressors.

Exercise ranked the highest on FlexShare’s wellness study for combatting stress. Schedule the time on your calendar to workout, go for a run or take a walk. This will lift your energy and mood. You don’t have to run a marathon, even a 20-minute brisk walk will provide you with a clearer mind and increased energy.

Prayer and meditation, as well as scheduling leisure time, also ranked as stress-coping mechanisms. Not surprisingly, more vacation time equated to greater work-life balance and lower levels of stress. So, get that next vacation scheduled on the calendar now!

Although it did not rank in the FlexShare’s study, if you are truly trying to achieve work-life balance, schedule the time each week to simply unplug.

While technology has benefited our lives in many ways, it has also created the ability for clients to reach us 24 hours a day. You have to schedule time to completely unplug. No phone, no email, no text, no instant messaging and no social media. Shut off your phone. Constant notifications on your phone build stress and take away from you being fully present when you are trying to enjoy your friends, family and leisure time.

Resist the urge. Don’t bring your phone to the dinner table and don’t respond to messages when you are trying to watch your child play baseball. Simply unplug when you are trying to enjoy your leisure time. It is freeing and you deserve it.

The Bottom Line

Work-life balance is a delicate dance that requires attention and deliberate effort. If you don’t make it a priority, your wheel will become completely out of whack and you will feel like you are never getting anywhere.

Devote the time to your overall wellbeing. Make work-life balance a reality, and not just a pipedream. You will never regret it.

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