Approach your goals with the right priorities: Who do you want to be?

By Sandy Schussel

Sandy Schussel, LLC


​“What do I have to do to get more of the clients I want?” Todd, an attorney who is trying to become an equity partner in his firm, asked me.

“The better question,” I responded, “is who do you have to be to get more of the clients you want?”

“What do you mean ‘who do I have to be’?” he asked, with both confusion and a little irritation in his voice.

I explained to Todd that most people approach their goals with the wrong priorities:
    “If I do more [prospecting],

    I’ll have more [clients],

    and then I’ll be more [successful at this].”
I ask someone who he or she needs to be to be successful, because the success actually comes from within:
    “If I can be more [successful at this],

    I’ll do more [prospecting],

    and then I will havemore [clients, and success].”
Then, I repeated my question to Todd. Who did he need to be to have the success he wanted?

Todd started to think about the difference between his interactions with people and those of the most successful partner in his firm, Arthur. Arthur treated all of his existing clients as if they were the most important people in the world. This was something Todd thought he had no time to do.

But Arthur’s clients were always referring their colleagues to him.

“I need to be Arthur,” Todd declared, and then he said it again with a faraway tone that suggested he was deep in thought. “I need to be Arthur…”

Todd decided that he would begin that very day to “Arthur-ize” his own work relationships. (That was what Todd wanted to call his action.) He would choose to be Arthur and to do as Arthur did with clients, in order to have more clients and the success that Arthur seemed to have.

When I ask my clients who they need to be to have what they want, I get a variety of answers:

“Someone who isn’t afraid to pick up the phone and make a call,” one might say.

“Someone who is truly focused on her goals,” might be the response of another.

Or, one might say: “Arthur,” “My dad,” “Oprah,” “Gandhi,” “My boss,” “My competitor,” “My own best friend,” or “My very best self.”

Another way you can approach who to be is by asking yourself this question:

“If I were the best (type of professional) in the (location/region), how would I act in this situation?”

E.g., if I were the best financial advisor in California, how would I handle this situation? If I were the best labor attorney in New York City, how would I handle this situation? If I were the best coach in world, what would my fee be?

Or, further:

If I were to be the best, what would I do, so I that could have the results that I want?

If you’re not where you want to be in your business or your life, don’t ask, what do I have to do? Ask, who do I have to be?

I encourage you to keep being, keep doing, keep having and keep reaching.