Friday, November 18, 2016

Now Is the Time for You (and Clients) to Test Out New Year’s Resolutions

I spent most of Wednesday in midtown Manhattan meeting with clients and strategic partners. It was the first time I felt like a 1 Percenter—i.e. in the small minority of people actually trying to work. It was an unseasonably warm work day in mid-November, but you would have thought it was the week before Christmas based on the frantic energy and size of the crowds perusing the display windows at Macy’s, skating at Bryant Park or clogging the rails of Rockefeller Center.

If you think the Holiday ads and catalogs are hitting you earlier than ever, you’re not alone. Even my subway shuttle between Grand Central and Times Square was already decked out in Christmas gift wrapping. If we’re going to keep pushing the envelope on when the Holiday season officially starts, I don’t have a problem with it as long as it’s good for the economy and help’s people people’s psyche. But if we’re going to push up the start of  the Holiday’s we should also push up the start of your New Year’s resolutions because now is an excellent time to “pilot test” your 2017 resolutions to see what you can realistically stick with and what’s just a pipe dream.

Research suggests that approximately half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions yet only one out of twelve of them (8%) actually achieve them. We all know behavior modification is hard, whether you’re trying to lose weight, get organized, get published, revamp your IT processes or make your website mobile friendly. Experts say we also tend to set the bar too high and then beat ourselves up when we don’t reach it. But there has to be more to the high rate of Resolution Failure.

Dr. Paul Marciano, author of Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work specializes in the area of behavior modification and motivation. Marciano’s book offers seven key pieces of advice.

1. Clearly define your goals. Many people in the spirit of New Year’s loudly proclaim, “This is the year I’m going to finally get in shape.” But what does that mean? Do you intend to lose a certain number of pounds? Reach a body-fat percentage goal? Run three miles without rest? Bang out 10 pull-ups? Marciano advocates SMART goals—objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. In other words “own it” and be accountable.

2. Track your progress. Countless studies show that individuals, teams and organizations are much more likely to reach a goal (and stay with it) if progress can be measured along the way. Experts such as Marciano say measurement can also help you and your team identify bottlenecks in your progress.

3. Have patience. OK. I admit this isn’t my strong suit, but experts say must set realistic goals and realize that progress is never linear. Sometimes you experience rapid gains only to hit resistance later. Other times, initial progress may be painfully slow but then they suddenly achieve rapid breakthroughs. Making lasting changes takes time.

4. Publicize your goals to friends, family and co-workers. This is about “owning it.” High performing sports teams, companies and military units understand this. You can too. Don’t be shy about announcing your specific resolution to the world, but support from colleagues, friends and family members is key.

5. Put resolutions on your schedule. That’s another flavor of “owning it.” How often do you hear people say they can’t “find the time” to do something? Experts argue that nobody finds time to do something. We all choose to spend our time the way we do—whether that’s eating junk food, binging on NetFlix shows or hitting the gym. Make your new goals a priority and actually schedule them into your calendar. If you want to declutter you office, schedule time to clean out your files, desk and online calendar in the evening or on weekends when you’re not at the beck and call of clients. Think of these “time blocks” as important appointments with yourself—and make sure you’re penalized for cancelling on short notice.

6. Stop “all or nothing” thinking; it’s better do something than nothing. I admit I’m often guilty of “all or nothing” thinking? For instance, “I didn’t get my proposal in on time, so I might as well forget about landing that client.” Or, “I might as well have a couple more beers and some fries since I blew my diet last night.” The difference between doing something rather than nothing is huge. If you don’t have a full hour to workout at the gym, just decide to make it the best 20-minutes you can. If you have a slight cold or minor injury, decide to just walk the track for a couple miles. If a client has a financial emergency and can’t save the usual 10 percent this month, just tell them to save what you can. Any effort towards your goal is better than no effort.

7. Get up, when you slip up. None of us are perfect. As the football coaching legend Vince Lombardi famously said, “It isn’t whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” Resiliency is the key. Don’t turn relapses or temporary failures into total meltdowns or excuses for giving up. Instead, just acknowledge the mistake and recommit to the path.

Our blog has more as well as the FREE Resources page of our website.


Dr. Marciano and other experts believe achieving our goals isn’t about willpower. It’s about developing the right skills and strategies that, with patience, will lead to success. Use this time between now and January 1, 2017 to test out your planned resolutions—both the type of resolution and the degree to which you’re hoping to change your behavior. Make adjustments and then re-commit. Read points #6 and #7 above.

You’re already in the 1-percent who were working last Wednesday.  Join the Elite 8 percent who will be celebrating their success later in the year.

Wishing you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving.

Best HB


Tags: Making New Year’s Resolutions stick, Dr. Paul Marciano

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Read This First if You (or Key Clients) Are Considering Cashing Out

So many of you with successful businesses or practices dream of the day you can cash out. Wouldn’t it be great to sell the enterprise you worked so hard to build for a ton of dough and then sit back and travel, play golf, serve on a few boards and support a few of your favorite charitable causes? Not so fast.

If you haven’t taken the time to prepare properly for a liquidity event, you could find yourself financially and emotionally disrupted to the point that you aren’t enjoying life and you aren’t preserving your hard-earned wealth.

Before you move on to your next venture or to a life away from the daily grind, here are five key principles that one of our clients advises his clients to follow and they’re likely to work for you:

1. Ignore what made you successful.
2. Take a household view.
3. Understand different forms of risk.
4. Don’t gamble. Invest.
5. Control what you can control.

Read here for more about these five principles. As we have discussed in recent posts, writing a relevant eBook, blog or regular column can position you as a thought leader in your niche and garner you national media attention. Last week, another of our clients Blake Christian, CPA, a tax partner of Long Beach, CA-based HCVT was featured in a US News & World Report story How to Create a Foolproof Withdrawal Plan for Retirement Assets.

We typically our outreach efforts at least three months prior to release date and several of our clients have landed new business just by sending out pre-release chapters to their centers of influence for review.
Our blog and website has more.


While it may not be in your DNA to take your foot off the gas pedal, capital preservation, not growth is your primary concern in the new chapter of your life. And the same goes for your next book, presentation or article. Begin with the end in mind or you may find yourself sharing all your accumulated smarts and expertise with the world without being ready for Act 2, or getting anything of value in return.


TAGS: Blake Christian, preparing for liquidity events, cashing out