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Episode 21: 
Top Advisors are Forward Thinking and Big Picture Focused
Show Notes:
In this episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast, we kick off our 12 part series on the top characteristics of top financial advisors . In part one, we discuss the importance of having the right mindset, getting comfortable with uncertainty, as well as keeping the big final picture in focus to create a clear target to aim for. So, push PLAY and join us as we delve into setting yourself apart and up for success through the power of forward thinking and a vivid vision!

Read The Transcript Of The Episode:

Speaker 1: This is The Ultimate Advisor Podcast. The podcast for financial advisors who want to create a thriving, successful and scalable practice. Each week we'll uncover the ways that you can improve your referrals, your team, your marketing and your business operations, helping you to level up your advising practice, bring in more assets and create the advising practice that you've dreamed of. You'll be joined by your hosts, Bryan Sweet, who has more than half a billion dollars in assets under management. Brittany Anderson, the driving force for advisors looking to hire, improve their operations and company culture and Draye Redfern, who can help you systematize and automate your practices marketing to effortlessly attract new clients. So what do you say? Let's jump into another amazing episode of The Ultimate Adviser Podcast.

Brittany A: Hello, Brittany Anderson here. Welcome to The Ultimate Advisor Podcast. We are really excited to bring to you the next 12 episodes. We are doing a 12 week series. We're going to go deep on the characteristics of top advisors. So to kick us off, I've got Draye Redfern with me. I've got Bryan Sweet here with me as always. We're going to dive into the first of the 12 parts and that is that top advisors are forward thinking and big picture focused.
 I thought that the perfect person to talk about big pictures, to talk about thinking forward is none other than himself. Mr Bryan Sweet. Bryan, I would love for you to talk a little bit about your role as a visionary and how you tend to see that trait not only within yourself but in a lot of the guys that you're close with, your study group guys, people that you really connect with in the industry that also produce really exponential results. So I'd love for you to kick us off today.

Bryan Sweet: Well, sounds great, Brittany, and thank you for for that. Yeah, I think the visionary role is one, first of all, that I think every firm needs to have. So I'll just talk kind of general things and then I'll get into some specifics with some of the traits of people that I like to associate with. I think first of all, if you don't have a visionary or really know where you're going, any path will get you there. I think every firm needs a visionary that can guide the direction of the firm and I think one of the key things is you just need to make sure your team knows what that vision is and that they buy into the why of that vision.
 One of the things we've done in the office and we've talked about before is we've created a vivid vision, which is our three year vision of the future. It's written out, it's got colored pictures, describes in great detail what that looks like. One of the issues that happens with visions is if you don't constantly keep it front of mind, you can stray and end up doing things that aren't part of the things that you actually need to do to get to where you want to go. So one of the keys is once you create a document like that, and ours is a very multiple page document, yours could simply be the front page of a yellow pad. But the key is to read it daily and make sure your team reads it daily.
 It's amazing once you have that memory, that all of the things that you need for help to get there just seem to pop up because your mind is looking for that stuff and it just jumps out at you and right when you need that magic potion, it seems to be there. I'm just amazed at how often that actually happens when you're constantly aware of different things.
 As far as my study group and forward thinking, one of the traits that I've found that successful advisors have is they are always looking for what's the next vision or what's the next iteration of my firm? One of the things that we do in our study group is we talk a lot about that at our different meetings and where do you want to be and why do you want to be there? I think it's just really critical to always know the why. I think if you pay attention and you talk to, or you ask a lot of questions of some of the top advisors in your firms or that you're aware of, and you ask them the importance of being a visionary or thinking about the future, they'll tell you that's really critical.
 I think the other thing that you also need to be aware of when you're forward thinking is things will change. So you've got a picture of what it looks like, but you've got to be able to kind of go with the flow, if you will. If you need to take a left turn, you need to be able to feel comfortable about change, and so does your team, because the only thing I know of that's constant is change. One of the terms that I've really gotten comfortable liking is the term is called, being comfortable with uncomfortable, because things do change an awful lot. To get us started, anything else that you'd like me to comment on that, Brittany?

Brittany A: No, I think that's good, and I'm so glad that you brought up the concept of the vivid vision because from my perspective, I want to honor some of our listeners who I know are operations are the second in command type of role. When, Bryan, as you're talking and sharing and talking about that constant forward thinking and having that vision outlined and trusting the journey a little bit and being able to maneuver from an operations or a second in command standpoint, it can be really, really tough to constantly work with somebody who is a forward thinker. The reason for that is because they're looking forward, they're onto the next thing. So you have a major milestone you hit in the company, you have a big goal that you hit or you have some team accomplishment together.
 Forward thinkers often take like half of a millisecond to honor that, that accomplishment and then they're onto the next thing, right? They're onto the next thing and they're excited about whatever else is in their path or part of the journey. So part of your role if you're listening from the operations and even as a financial advisor, as a primary in the company is it's awesome to be forward thinking. It's great to be a big picture person, but to have somebody on your team who can reel that in a little bit and celebrate, right? Honor those moments that you make those big accomplishments and get your team excited because they oftentimes need that celebration and they need that moment of pause. So not everybody on your team is going to be as much of a forward thinker as the top advisers are. Just taking that and really reeling it in and making sure that you pause for a moment to celebrate those big wins. That's what helps you build your culture.
 So Draye, you and I, I've got to bring you into this because you and I have had the absolute pleasure, through different connect connections that Bryan has made, through different advisors that we've had the pleasure of working with is we've really been able to see the traits of these top advisors and see what differentiates them, because differentiation is such a popular conversation these days. Draye, I think that I would love for you to talk a little bit on what you've seen in our industry when it comes to being forward thinking and just not ever being complacent, not being stationary in their efforts. I'd love for you to elaborate there.

Draye Redfern: There's a lot of things there actually, and working with a bunch of advisors over the last handful of years, the commonality I think that you see as not being an advisor but knowing the advisor mindset and see how they work and working with them, and these sorts of things, that many advisers are growth oriented but they have such a strong focus on downside risk protection because that's what they have to do on a daily basis. That also sort of stems into the way in which they operate their business at the same time. Forward thinking is good and being big picture focus is good, but you're exactly right, Brittany, there has to be a component of that advisor in which the implementation of that forward thinking actually occurs. But not getting too stuck in the weeds on what if this happens and what if that happens and what if that happens? What if this happens? Because we can what if ourselves to death.
 There's a quote that I love and it says, "You can't be free without uncertainty." The reality is that when it comes to growing a business or really doing anything with success in life, there's a certain amount of uncertainty that goes along with it. Forward thinking and being that visionary is absolutely integral in order to build that business that you're looking for. But obviously that comes with uncertainty. That's one thing I want to at least bring up, at least initially is that a lot of people have great visions and they're excited about it, but they get slightly derailed because of the, what if, what if, what if, what if? Or some day I'll, some day I'll, and they end up, I end up on some day island and they never actually get to their goals.
 The next thing I think is worth mentioning there is a lot of the forward thinking advisers I embody a concept that Zig Ziglar coined a long time ago is, be, do, have. Is that they step into that role of being that visionary, of being that person. They become that person and then they do the things that that person would do. Maybe it's better leadership styles, maybe that's onboarding the second in command to help tighten up operations and efficiencies. Doing the things that an elite advisor would do. Then obviously if you be it, you do it, you have it. But I feel like there's a certain amount of advisers that gets sort of stuck in those middle, that first or second one, that sort of maybe hinder some of those, maybe success on the back end, when it comes to having it.
 Before we throw it back to you, Brittany, I think there's also another quote that I love from Oliver Wendell Holmes and it says that, "Once a mind has been expanded, it can never return to its former state." So by being around other people, like Bryan mentioned in study groups and continually being forward thinking, you are expanding your mind. When you expand your mind in that sort of way, you can't go back to having a smaller mind. You can't go back to thinking smaller like you did previously. You're thinking bigger and you're taking actions to make bigger moves to think in the bigger picture and to have more forward thinking in your operations and practices.
 So there's a lot there to unpack. But I think that the idea of actually being forward thinking and the execution of that are very closely tied and if you can be it, do it and have it, I think that's where we're going to see a lot of our advisors really get a lot more success that they're looking for.

Brittany A: I think it was interesting Draye, because we did not talk ahead of time about the be, do, have concept, right?

Draye Redfern: Yeah.

Brittany A: The Ziglar quote. Interestingly enough, at Sweet Financial, on the bottom of our staff meeting agenda that we have approximately once a month, that actually is stated right there. Be, do, have, and it's that constant reminder. I think that just brings up a good point here in that you know when you're looking at, especially the characteristic ... This 12 week series is all built around the characteristics of top advisors. So when you're dealing with being forward thinking, when you are big picture focused, having something to remind you of the reason that you're doing that, right? Having something that reminds you constantly of why you're striving for more and kind of why you are the way you are, I think that is so important.
 Then by sharing that with your team, it really drives your point home cause it gets everybody on board. Bryan talks a little bit again about that vivid vision and making sure that you have that in black and white, in print, so that you can share that, so that everybody knows the common mission that they're going towards. Before I tie this all together and wrap this up, Bryan Draye, anything else that you guys would like to add? Just along the lines of being forward thinking and being big picture focused.
Bryan Sweet: Brittany, you made me think of one really important thing and that's the importance of planning. One of the things that we do for clients on a regular basis is help them plan to meet their goals, dreams, objectives and schedule things out and help them get there. I think it's just critical that you also do that for yourself in your own business. That's really part of being a forward thinker is thinking about the future and what do I need to do today, tomorrow, the next day for that future to become reality?
 Then being very conscious of doing it in a long term basis. When you set goals, you typically set them a year or several years out and then you could create some BHAG, big hairy audacious goals and then they seem really almost insurmountable. But if you then take it and scale it back to, what do I need to do on a weekly basis in order for me to accomplish that big goal a lot of years down the road? It's a much easier, smaller, very doable opportunity. If you just consistently do those small tasks, ultimately your BHAG is going to be achievable. But if you never plan and you never think about what that is and why that's important to myself and my firm, I can guarantee you it'll never happen. Those would be my additional comments, Brittany.

Brittany A: I think that leads us into a really great wrap up because the thing that I want to share is I want to share throughout this series, at least a couple of key takeaways out of each session. What you just talked about there, Bryan, with having that final big picture in sight always, it really allows you to have a target to aim at. So without that, you're missing direction. I've used this analogy before, but a lot of times when you miss direction like that, you don't have that vision to work towards. You're like an arrow without a target, right? You're like an arrow just shooting out into space with nothing really to aim at. That's not very efficient, that's not effective.
 As a wrap up to today, I think it's really important that if you have not done this already, to narrow the characteristics of top advisors in being forward thinking, being big picture focused, is number one to create a vivid vision. I believe we've mentioned this before, but check out Cameron Herold's book called, Vivid Vision. That is the map or roadmap, per se, that we used to create ours. Great resource, great reference, spells it out for you, makes it pretty easy. So that would be my first recommendation to you, to our audience members.
 The second one would be to, again, have somebody on your team that can help you to pause and celebrate the wins. Just assign that to somebody, have them in charge of it so that you can get that team culture really vamped up. Then lastly, I think Bryan and and Draye, you both touched on this, it was getting comfortable with the uncertainty. Bryan, you said being comfortable, being uncomfortable. I think that is something that you absolutely need to embrace. That's a concept, write it down. You can't be free without being uncertain or you can't be free without uncertainty and you've got to be comfortable being uncomfortable. That is a motto to live by. That is absolutely the mindset of some of the top advisors from across the country that we've dealt with. That being said, we're going to wrap up today's session. We'll be back next week. We're going to talk about the second characteristic out of the top 12 of top performing financial advisors. Have a great day.

Draye Redfern: Hey there, Draye Redfern here, and before you go, we just wanted to say thank you for listening to this week's episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe to the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify, and be sure to rate us five stars on iTunes, because when you do, you'll be entered into a monthly drawing for our ultimate advisor coaching program, which is a $2,000 value. If you would like to access more of the show notes, additional resources and our free premium content, then please visit We look forward to seeing you in the next episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast. We'll see you there.
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About The Ultimate Advisor Podcast:
The Ultimate Advisor podcast is a business podcast for financial advisors who are looking to grow their advising practices with greater ease and effectiveness. Ultimate Advisor was developed to help financial advisors master their marketing, sell their services with greater authority, generate repeat clients, and additional revenue in their business.
Each week, your hosts Draye Redfern, Bryan Sweet, and Brittany Anderson will share some of the closest guarded secrets from successful financial advising practices across the U.S.  

Draye Redfern

Draye is also the founder of which helps Attorneys go from “Surviving” to “Thriving” in their business.  In addition, Draye helps to provide insurance solutions to more than 8,600 law firms across the United States annually.

Bryan Sweet

Founder of Sweet Financial, CEO, Wealth Advisor, RJFS
Creator of The Dream Architect™
Co-founder of Dare to Dream Enterprises
Creator of Elite Wealth Advisor Symposium
Author of 3 books – Dare to Dream: Design the Retirement You Can’t Wait to Wake Up To, Imagine. Act. Inspire. A Daily Journal and Give & Grow: Proven Strategies for Starting an Running and Effective Study Group

Brittany Anderson

Director of Operations at Sweet Financial, Office Manager, RJFS
Co-founder of Dare to Dream Enterprises
Author of 2 books – Imagine. Act. Inspire. A Daily Journal & Dare to Dream: Design the Retirement You Can’t Wait to Wake Up To
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