In my 33 years of consulting with Olympic, World Champion and professional athletes, plus my consulting and mentoring experience with financial advisors…all directed at teaching them to develop a champion’s mindset, I have seen many parallels, when it comes to the critical issue of self-confidence.
Many factors have either eroded or enhanced the level of self-confidence that you now embrace in your advising career. Is the foundation of your self-confidence strong enough to withstand challenges or threats to that confidence? That foundation is maintained and enhanced by 5 critical factors:
It is crucial to be objective and completely honest with yourself concerning the areas in your career where your self-confidence wavers. Once you recognize where your vulnerabilities lie (e.g., having to deal with your high value clients after the market tanks), you can set realistic goals to compensate for these vulnerabilities (e.g., take a course or read a book on Assertiveness).
The longer you spend in the advising career the clearer you can predict that there will be challenging times ahead. Just as with elite athletes, the best way to keep your self-confidence elevated is to have in place a game plan for such times. For example, do you have a regular newsletter that goes out to your clients, discussing your core values and investment strategies that are built into their portfolios for just such occasions? If not, start getting the word out and when those challenging times come, you will have already set the groundwork for them to understand the plan and be flexible and patient.
Take all the continuing education you can find to help you feel confident in helping your clients plan for their retirement and the security for their families. For example, if a client asked you to discuss Social Security as it impacts them now and in the future, can you discuss this subject with confidence? If not, get educated.
When you are part of a team, it raises your confidence because you can help each other traverse the minefields. Even if you are a solo practitioner, go to conferences, get on social media (such as Linked In groups for advisors), to share challenges and learn about best practices from colleagues.
Read my earlier blogs to see how critically important it is to understand your particular thinking habits and those which erode your self-confidence. For example, do you put yourself down whenever you make a mistake? Do you assume that disaster in your career is just around the corner? Do you allow one mistake to develop overwhelming stress and fear that it’s only a matter of time before this happens again?
All of the knowledge you absorb regarding financial planning strategies, specific products, prospecting for clients, compliance & fiduciary requirements, etc. is worthless, if you don’t address the psychological obstacles that will prevent you from using that knowledge. I’m referring to obstacles such as, self-doubt, fear of failure, overwhelming stress, etc. Such obstacles directly impact your emotions and emotions always out-trump knowledge and experience.
The good news is that all of these psychological obstacles are actually under your control. You can learn the specifics of how to take charge of your thinking patterns, your fears and your feelings of inadequacy in my book, “The Financial Advisor’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide.” The techniques are not hard to master. It just takes persistence and practice to supercharge your self-confidence.