Stick to your goals to thrive in uncertain times

It has now been a few weeks in the U.K. of living in isolation. Only food shops and pharmacies are open. Everything else is closed until the spread of this new coronavirus peaks, the cases decline and it’s over.

I’m told I’m in the vulnerable group, being older than 70. This is serious stuff; an old friend recently died from the virus.

We know we stop the spread of the virus by social distancing. My new routine is to leave the house only once a day to exercise alone and always keep at least two meters from other people. Our younger daughter does whatever shopping we need and leaves it on the doorstep. Our hugs from the grandchildren via FaceTime are no substitute for the real thing.

I’m sure wherever you are, things are just as difficult. So how do we stay positive during this?

Keep your goals in mind

We have to use what made us successful to help work through this.

Now is the time to use the greatest of our attributes, our self-discipline. Our goals are just wishful thinking without the discipline to do what we need to do to succeed. We need a plan for what we will do each day.

The gym is closed, so I start my day with a three-mile power walk around the park adjacent to my house. Then, I’m on the telephone. In my case, as I no longer have personal clients, I call the advisors I mentor. I encourage them to call their clients. While some clients may be anxious at the falling markets, the best reason to call clients is just to check on their well-being. If they want to talk about their money, they’ll raise the topic themselves. Advisors continue doing business, having video meetings with clients and telling them, “It’s a great time to buy. It’s sale time in the markets. Buy now while stocks last.”

It’s important to be organized, set daily goals and look at what tasks you can complete today. And when it’s all over, we won’t have lost the good habits that made us the success we became. Then the first task when it’s over will be to revisit our goals for the next few years to see if they need adjusting to allow for the time away from the office.

A fable of our times

For those who find it very frustrating, which is most of us I’m sure, let me share an old fable. There was once a king who demanded of his advisors, “Find me a single thought that will both raise my spirits when times are dark and keep me grounded when everything is going too well.” A wise man gave him just four words, “This too will pass.”

Tony Gordon, a 43-year MDRT member from Bristol, England, is a Top of the Table qualifier and the 2001 MDRT President.

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