I have always believed that the best gift you can give any client is the example of a life that is working. All the more true if you purport to offer the promise of life-centered planning. Too often, advisors take a blueprint for business from a company or a peer that in the end leads to entremanure: a sobering, stinking realization that what they got is not what they bargained for. It’s the result of a misplaced value proposition.

In my travels and conversations with advisors around the world, I have come to realize that these problems are not as isolated and rare as one might think. In moments of candor, many advisors admit that their lives are neither in balance nor delivering the satisfaction they envisioned. To build a practice they can live with, they must begin the soul-searching and the task of reordering their lives ahead of their businesses. After all, what good are you to your clients if you eventually burn out, burn up or go up in smoke?

After talking with hundreds of advisors about this, I developed a coaching program called “Return on Life” (ROL) that focuses on helping advisors first discover their true value in the lives of their clients, who their ideal clients should be, and how to build a practice around those values and clients. With this approach, advisors no longer need to build a practice and simply hope for a good life. Instead, they can purposefully build a life and a practice that are natural extensions of a life that is working.

Imagine a business life where you are simultaneously relaxed and energized with passion instead of stressed and a slave to unfulfilling and monotonous conversations. Imagine a life where you take time off when you want and no one is threatened by your need for some tranquility and repose. Moving this picture from the imagination to the weekly calendar starts with listening to the right messages:

• The message coming from your nervous system telling you the pace and intensity you can live with.

• The message coming from your heart telling you what people you really enjoy interacting with.

• The message coming from your soul telling you what tasks fill you with energy and passion—making your life rich in every sense of the word.

• The message coming from your business to your clients regarding what you will help them accomplish with their money.

These are the cornerstones of the Val-YOU Proposition. First and foremost, your business must be good for you. If the business is not good for you, it’s not good for your clients or those you professionally associate with. Any value propositions outside of helping clients realize a greater ROL are simply ticking time bombs.

In my next article, I will describe the end of ROI as we know it as a value proposition, and the emergence of ROL as the most stable, sustainable and enjoyable proposition available. Either you own your business or it owns you. Your life matters too … so, get greedy with ROL and build a business that helps you achieve that end.