Everyone has some degree or sphere of influence. As a ProAdvisor you have influence because you connect with other people, and influence the individuals you contact.
About 9 months ago I published an article called ‘The “Pro” Advisor’ in which I shared my thoughts on what it really meant to be a ProAdvisor. In that article I gave a lot of very specific things like certification and learning from others as well as putting the interests of your clients ahead of yourself. In this article I want to go beyond the specifics’ of how to put the Pro in ProAdvisor, and discuss the sphere of influence you as a ProAdvisor have, and can have.
Every one of us has a purpose in life; the secret is knowing what that purpose truly is. Hopefully the career you have chosen as a ProAdvisor fits your life purpose and with that career and purpose you recognize the tremendous ability you have to influence the lives of those around you.
Now some people, even some ProAdvisors are content to simply ‘do the work’ and settle for less than they can be. Oh sure they follow my earlier advice and train and certify, they learn from others by attending webinars and conferences, and they conduct themselves ethically in their dealings with their clients, that’s not what I am talking about.
Left to themselves, they shrink back when challenged; they fail to take the extra few steps needed to go the distance. They are content to be just a ProAdvisor rather than truly a trusted business advisor. Their hesitancy in ‘moving on up the ladder’ has to do with the fact that they don’t have faith in their ability to take the next step.
Now while I am writing to ProAdvisors, the same thing applies to most people. Many, if not most, people have trouble believing in themselves or in their ability to do what needs to be done. They say to themselves, “Oh, I could never do that.” or “I could never get up in front of a group of people.”, or “I just don’t think I could….” (you fill in the blank; you likely have said one of these exact things.)
The reality is that too many people have so little faith in themselves. They are convinced that they are going to fail before they even try. They say, ‘I do OK keeping books for my clients and helping them with their QuickBooks.’ Or perhaps they say, “I’m content helping people set-up and use QuickBooks Online, I could never ‘advise them on how their business is running’.
When these ProAdvisors see light at the end of a tunnel, they assume it is a train on the way to run them over, rather than the sun of new dawn rising over something more in their lives. They simply lack faith in their abilities, and their current and potential, scope of influence.
But if a lack of faith in one’s self isn’t bad enough, the reality is that most people, including most ProAdvisors don’t have someone who truly has faith in them either. They don’t have and don’t know how to find someone who can give them the confidence and encouragement they need, so not only do they not have faith in themselves, they believe that no one else does either.
Sole-practitioner ProAdvisors are alone, many just starting out, with no mentor to coach them along and show faith in them. ProAdvisors in a small firm may simply do the ‘grunt work’; if it is a CPA firm they may be thought of as ‘inferior’ because they don’t have those 3 letters after their name, so they are called ‘the QuickBooks gal or guy’. It may even be worse in a ‘large firm’ no matter how productive you are.
Most people rise or fall based upon the expectations of others around them. Psychology tells us that if an individual has nothing but skepticism and doubt expressed about them, they will return that lack of confidence with mediocrity. On the other hand, if a person has individuals surround them who believe in them and expect them to do well, then that person will go the extra mile trying to do their best.
Without the support of others, the start-up and staffer ProAdvisors I mentioned above may simply lose their way and ultimately turn to something different for a profession. What they need is a mentor!
But some ProAdvisors do go on to build a successful practice, acquiring regular clients with whom they work in a variety of ways. Most of their work will be on the technical aspects of QuickBooks, in some cases file clean-up, and for some 3rd-party product integrations. But few are really ‘trusted advisors’, not necessarily out of a lack of training, but because even they have a lack of faith in their ability to expand to the next level.
A limited few ProAdvisors appear to have seemingly reached the ‘pinnacle’; they have successful practices and are well respected in the ProAdvisor community; they have a sphere of influence as trainers and educators, and perhaps authors. But many times that is where even these giants have chosen to limit their sphere of influence; they too underestimate their ability to influence the lives of others.
I just spent a few days with my friend and mentor Joe Woodard. Almost everyone knows Joe as a long-time QuickBooks trainer, the producer of the largest Intuit-centric conference for ProAdvisors, Scaling New Heights, and the creator of the National Advisor Network for ProAdvisors. In reality Joe lives each moment of each day with one basic goal, ‘to empower ProAdvisors’; it is truly his mission, his purpose in life, and as a result his own sphere of influence is far reaching.
Just as importantly his newest venture, the NAN Institute, which recently completed its’ inaugural course, is designed to empower and mentor ProAdvisors in doing more, in finding their own real mission and purpose in life, and maximizing their own sphere of influence. Joe has a great capacity to spur those he touches on to greater things in life, and to be all they can be.
Now this isn’t a ‘commercial’ for the NAN Institute, although if you find yourself ‘wanting more’ for your ProAdvisor practice and needing a hard-driving mentor to believe in you, then that program maybe just what the doctor ordered.
But what I hope you take away from this article is this one simple thing. Even when things look darkest, have faith in yourself, find someone who has faith in you as well (find a mentor), and then put your faith in someone else (be a mentor) for their sake.
All of us have a challenge to accept our responsibility to influence the outcome of not only our own lives and ProAdvisor practices, but the lives and businesses of our clients, and the lives and practices of our fellow ProAdvisors. Only then will we recognize our potential and our purpose and truly put the ‘Pro’ in ‘Advisor’.