There is no doubt that we have seen a dramatic shift in the industry – the transference of power from the firm to the financial advisor – yet many advisors still complain of feeling stuck.

They have metaphorically handcuffed themselves to their current firms, regardless of the outsized incentive packages being offered by competitors and the ever-growing variety of options that exist on the independent or alternative landscape. And they try to suppress the desire for greater control, flexibility and freedom.

FEELING STUCK

The fact of the matter is that most advisors complain about feeling stuck not just because they don't have a clear picture of their options but because they don't have a clear vision for their own futures. Put another way, they haven't defined their personal and business goals and are looking only at where they are right now, rather than considering that other opportunities could provide for a future that is better aligned with their goals.

So though most change comes when the pain becomes unbearable, it doesn't have to be that way. Advisors can certainly start educating themselves on the options, and there are plenty of articles written and consultants available that can help with that.

More importantly, however, advisors need to take a hard look at what they are doing now and what they want to be doingso that they can identify the delta between the two and assess what changes they are willing to make in order to bridge the gap. It is about determining if there are options available that might better align with specific needs, goals and desires.

In that nexus is where advisors will find what I call their "best business life."

10 QUESTIONS

The key to realizing needs, goals and desires lies within the answers to the following questions:

  1. Who/what do I value most in my life?
  1. What are my goals?
  1. Do I have what I need today, or do I want more?
  1. Does where I sit today support my values, goals and desires?
  1. What changes am I willing to make to fill the gaps?
  1. Do I have the right team/support both at home and at work?
  1. Do I play the right role in my business and life?
  1. Who will carry on my legacy?
  1. How do I get from here to there?
  1. What changes am I willing to make in order to get from here to there?

Establishing what is most important to an advisor's life's work – including the value placed on control, flexibility, freedom and ownership – will help eliminate the inertia and allow the advisor to weigh the value of the options available. An advisor may decide that, all things considered, where he or she is now is actually the right place to be, which may be a perfectly valid conclusion.
Mindy Diamond is president and CEO of Diamond Consultants, a recruiting firm based in Morristown, N.J.

This story is part of a 30-day series on going independent.