"I'm almost successful... time to sabotage myself!"Let’s talk about an unpopular topic… self-sabotage.Since founding The Advisor Coach, I’ve gotten the privilege of watching financial advisors build and sustain tremendous success. I’ve also witnessed behaviors that shatter goals and dreams.Behaviors are said to be self-sabotaging when they create problems in your daily life and interfere with your goals.When you think of self-sabotage, you probably think of drugs, alcohol, or other self-destructive behaviors. However, it doesn’t have to be that extreme. Financial advisors can sabotage their success in several different ways, including…
Ever since I created Your First Year As A Financial Advisor, I’ve gotten tons of attention from new financial advisors. These new advisors are often encouraged to set goals for their first year in business. Some of them set huge, lofty goals but, based on my experience, most new financial advisors set the bar too low.Now, why is this phenomenon especially prevalent among new financial advisors? I have a few hypotheses…The first is that they don’t know what’s possible. They’ve never been in financial services before so they have no baseline whatsoever. For all intents and purposes, they’re picking a random number. Because they’re just spitballing potential numbers, some advisors appear full of unbridled enthusiasm while others appear afraid to aim high.My second hypothesis is that their goals are influenced by the other financial advisors they meet. When financial advisors hear about how tough it is to succeed or the industry’s high turnover rate, they get nervous. If other financial advisors tell them how they’ll have to “grind it out” for a few years, low goals are merely a product of confirmation bias.This idea is well beyond the scope of this article but I discuss it in more detail here: 7 Reasons Why Most Financial Advisor Sales Training Completely FailsMy third hypothesis is that they fear change. This is assuming financial advisors ARE thinking accurately about what’s possible and they DON’T have any negative influences. Because when most people talk about “fearing success”, they’re really talking about fearing change. They’re worried that success will turn them into different people. They’re worried that success will alienate their friends and family members.Because of this deep-rooted fear of change, advisors set low goals to remain in their comfort zone.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said that we are the average of our five closest friends.Whether you like it or not, you are influenced by the company you keep. Your closest confidantes affect how you think, your self-esteem, and your decisions.It’s a fact of life that some people want to hold others back, like the proverbial crabs in a bucket. So, you might as well accept it and learn how to deal with it instead of wishing reality was different.In my personal life, cutting out all low achievers was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I grew up in a poor area and was beaten over the head every single day with the “graduate and get a good job” mantra. Getting a “good job” was the end goal.It wasn’t until I started associating with high achievers that I started thinking differently. Rather than looking up to the person who was making $100K per year, I started admiring the person making $10M per year. Instead of hanging out with people who wanted to drink beer and watch football on the weekends, I started hanging out with people who studied, reflected, and planned on the weekends.Remember, you can’t soar like an eagle when you hang out with turkeys!
According to Investopedia, up to 90% of financial advisors fail in their careers.This is heartbreaking, especially when people like me work so hard putting together proven marketing and prospecting plans for advisors. Make no bones about it: succeeding as a financial advisor is difficult. It does require hard work and strategic thinking. Yet, it can be done. Thousands of financial advisors have already achieved the success you want to achieve. If you want to replicate their results, you’ve got to replicate what they’ve done.In my experience, most financial advisors tend to be optimists. And there’s nothing wrong with being optimistic unless it takes you away from reality. If the cold, hard reality is that it takes a certain amount of effort to succeed, no amount of positive thinking is going to change that.I’m bringing this up because optimist financial advisors are the ones who (ironically) tend to get discouraged when the going gets tough. This is because they’re optimistic in the sense that they think everything will be easy for them. When things don’t happen as quickly or as easily as they’d like, they get discouraged.Advisors also sabotage themselves by quitting their marketing campaigns too soon. An advisor might send ONE direct mail piece out ONCE and write it off completely if he doesn’t get any results. He’ll just stop trying because of one “failed” effort… even though a few tests could easily turn his mail campaign into a winner. The same is true with all types of marketing ranging social media, content marketing, email marketing, etc.According to Investopedia, up to 90% of financial advisors fail in their careers...
As a financial advisor, your income is closely tied to your productivity. If you can shift from doing $10-per-hour work to $200-per-hour work, you can dramatically increase your bottom line.Alas, many advisors sabotage themselves by continually working on low-value tasks in their business. I’m talking about tasks such as shuffling paperwork around, doing “research” and constantly checking email.Newsflash: nobody ever put a dent in the universe by checking email.The most successful financial advisors are the ones who have a relentless focus on becoming more productive. This drive shows up in their business, their personal life, and their bank balance.
I’ve lost count of how many advisors I’ve met who proudly proclaim that they work 60+ hours per week but still “can’t afford!” my help. Or the ones who are the first to arrive in the office and the last to leave but still can’t crack $250K in personal income.We live in a toxic “hustle!” culture and it’s permeated among financial advisors. Yet, successful advisors understand that they must set boundaries. Because if they don’t, here’s what happens…They work a lot, which means they don’t spend time with their families… which leads to a poor personal life… which impacts their work... and the poor work quality means they spend even MORE time at work… which means they spend even LESS time with their families… and so on.It’s a VICIOUS cycle.This form of self-sabotage is especially dangerous because it seems innocuous. Advisors believe they’re actually doing a GOOD thing by quickly responding to a prospect’s email at 7 p.m. or setting up an initial meeting well into the evening. However, it’s a slippery slope where boundaries get eroded and burnout can occur.
You’re probably a people-pleaser. So am I. We’re all people-pleasers to some extent because wanting to be approved of and accepted is as natural as wanting food and shelter.However, it’s when you try to please EVERYONE that you encounter problems. Clinical psychologist Dr. Harriet Braiker called it “the disease to please”.Financial advisors who suffer from this disease dread disapproval. As a result, they inoculate themselves against conflict and confrontation. This means they fail to speak up, fail to say what’s on their minds and fail to allow themselves to be genuine.This is self-sabotaging for many reasons, such as: