Get Some Perspective

Get Some Perspective

Last weekend my wife and took a short camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains.  We try to do this at least once a year and would love to go more often.

Upon our return, our kids always ask us what we did, and the answer is always the same, “Absolutely nothing.”  Obviously, that’s not literally true as we did eat, sleep, read and talk but those four activities constituted the majority of how we spent our time.

There’s nothing quite like some time away to gain some new perspective.  Upon our return we noticed how spacious our house seemed compared to the camper van we slept in.  Our 12-year-old son seemed a little taller, and our 15-year-old daughter seemed a little wiser.

For financial advisors and financial planners working through the day-to-day in the “new normal” after COVID, gaining a fresh perspective can provide new motivation and opportunities to improve.  Here are three ways to get some perspective:

Step Away (even just for a moment). Wharton Professor Katy Milkman (author of the book How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be) published a study in 2014 on the “Fresh Start Effect” where she found that temporal landmarks such as birthdays and new years/months/weeks help people take bigger-picture views of their lives.

By stepping away from your work for a vacation, a weekend, or even just a walk around the block, you are creating a similar demarcation.  When you return to your desk, you’ll see things just a little bit differently.

Change Your Angle. When’s the last time you sat in the chair where your client usually sits?  If you haven’t done so recently, give it a try.  What do you notice that’s different? You can even try things like standing on your chair or sitting on the floor.

Another way to change your angle is to adjust the font when working on a document.  You can increase the size or select a different font altogether.  You’ll find that this small adjustment causes you to view things just a bit differently and often results in fresh ideas.

Ask for Help. A third way to gain a new perspective is to talk to someone else such as a coach or trusted colleague.  When you share your thoughts with someone else, the mental processes used to turn abstract thoughts into spoken words typically create an “a-ha” moment.  Furthermore, the listener’s observations and insight will give you a much-needed third-party perspective.

When things start to feel a bit stale, how about getting a new perspective?

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