Are You a River or a Rapid?

AdvisorBlast – Quick Tips to Accelerate Your Practice
In this issue: Use focus to increase the velocity of your business, like a channeled rapid, instead of a lazy river.


The athletes we watched perform in the Winter Olympics last month had vision, focus, and persistence, much more like a rapid than a river.

When it comes to being decisive, directed, and deliberate about your business, are you a rapid or river? 

Rivers are broad, covering large areas, dispersing their force.

Rapids, however, are narrowly contained within specific, firm boundaries. This channeling increases their velocity and intensity.

Rivers meander and move languidly; rapids are directed and move with power.

Rivers often collect debris as they move because their flow rate is gentle enough to tolerate and carry the extra material along their courses. If you throw something into a rapid, though, and it can’t keep up with the pace, it’s quickly overtaken by the power of the water.

People are comfortable playing in and around rivers, but wise people approach rapids carefully because they move swiftly toward their destination and cannot be easily coaxed into a different direction. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time in a rapid, you’ll have a serious challenge on your hands because it will carry on its course without any diversions.

When you become disciplined and focused, corralling your daily habits specifically toward a clear objective, you become like a rapid. 

While a river has a great volume, left alone, it often lacks significant force. But if you build a dam that directs and forces the water in a specific direction, great power is produced.

Structure, planning, and focus act like a power-generating dam for your business: intensity increases, making the “ride” more of an adventure, and causing you to reach your final destination sooner. You may finish the journey a little weary, but the experiences and lessons along the way will make it all worthwhile. You’ll stretch yourself a little further than usual, learning more about your capabilities, strengths, and vulnerabilities as you progress. Like going down rapids, there may be times when things feel a little out of control. Don’t avoid these times: embrace them, relying on your instincts, determination, and vision you had when you began this adventure called “your business.”

Yes, you might arrive at the end a little winded. But think of the faces you saw of those Sochi Olympians after they flew down a mountain at more than 80 miles per hour or threw themselves in the air, spinning and trying to land on a literal knife edge: they were smiling! The ride had been worth it. And no one looked bored!

So consider:

  • What goals, if achieved by December 31st, 2014, might have you winded, yet feeling exhilarated?
  • Where are you spreading yourself too widely? What debris are you carrying that is slowing you down?
  • What new boundaries will you set on where you spend your time and energy so you can focus your resources on reaching your final destination sooner?

Don’t spread yourself so wide that you’re seen as a jack of all trades: if people perceive you this way, they’ll conclude you’re master of none. Instead, take the route of a channeled rapid to enjoy achieving your objectives sooner.

– Paul


As a motivational speaker and executive coach, Paul Kingsman helps financial services professionals successfully grow their businesses by taking practical daily steps to achieve outstanding long-term results. Combining his experiences as an Olympic medalist and his background as an advisor, Paul understands how to stay focused over the long haul, as well as the unique business challenges faced by advisors. Through his professional speaking and executive coaching he equips them to overcome distractions so they can get the money they need, the clients they want, and the time to do what they love.

To find out more about how Paul can equip you or your team to achieve outstanding results, visit or email him at

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