By Brian Mitchell, Managing Partner & CEO.

The last couple of weeks have proved to be an economic roller coaster as it relates to the stock market. It has served as a microcosmic reminder for me to focus on the things I can control or influence and that despite ups and downs, things tend to work out in the long run when we zero in on the fundamentals. I’m not Warren Buffet; I don’t have the time or clinical interest to learn all the nuances that a professional investor understands. But I do want to build financial security and leverage investments over time to assure my family is taken care of. That said, hiring a financial advisor whom I can trust and measure his/her results over the mid/long term is in my control. Once set up, I need to get out of the way as it does me no good to sweat the short-term ups and downs. I need to focus on what I can actually impact, the elements within my control. We all have factors that impact us both personally and professionally which aren’t controllable yet most of us become very concerned about what might happen. Of course we can’t obliviously proceed or ignore challenges in our path, but we need to focus on fundamentals, adjust where necessary, and simply stay the course.

We’ve developed a simple yet universal framework at GM Ryan for how we approach individual challenges/opportunities, our day, month, year, and career. This is our simple sequential formula:

DESIRE > PLAN {Objective > Strategy > Execution> Result} > PLAN

Napoleon Hill said, “desire is the starting point of all achievement” and must be backed by a “definite plan”. When you start a new project, build a business plan, make a sales call, pursue a promotion or new position, launch a company, seek funding, take a company public, or nearly any other strategic task – all of the elements of our basic framework apply. Whatever outcome you desire, you must  REALLY want it for it to truly actualize otherwise it wasn’t very challenging to begin with. For anyone with that burning desire to succeed, they’ll surely invest the time to plan towards the achievement. You’ll define your objective with specific and measurable timetabled goals. You’ll evaluate several different strategies and choose the best one for your purposes. You’ll execute your top strategy. You’ll evaluate the outcome and results to discern what you need to do next. Now here is the rub – it may or may not work! Sometimes we will execute our strategies flawlessly, but many more times we won’t and some attempts will be absolute train-wrecks. Do any of the challenges change the starting point – desire? No, not a true burning desire. Whether it’s one of 100 nuanced steps toward the ultimate goal or the macro goal itself, one must assess the result and start planning their next step again. This simple sequenced framework applies.

Taking action is within our control. Planning is within our control. The choice to persevere is within our control. Our long-term success is inherently within our control. Just like the stock market fluctuates, so will your successes along the way, but if the burning desire to succeed is strong enough there is nothing that can prevent a positive long-term achievement…not even a 1,000-point drop in the DOW!

Don’t panic when the rug comes out from under you. Leverage this simple framework, take action, focus on what you can influence, and keep moving until you arrive.