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The Truth About Getting to the Next Level as an Advisor

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Recently, I did a private webinar for a group of advisors. In the Q and A section, I was asked, what’s the key element to being successful long term as an advisor. We’re not talking about having a good month or quarter or year. It’s really a career-long success. Let’s talk a little more about that in this episode.

A lot of advisors think that the key to success is doing more stuff. In other words, I need a marketing program, a better website, practice management or I need technology, and those are all true. But what holds an advisor back from long term/ life long greatness are the following.

Number one is your belief set. In other words, what you believe to be true. Your beliefs around life, business, people success, and failure.

For example, you believe it’s hard to get new clients. Guess what? It’s hard to get new clients. If you believe that you can’t drive introductions and referrals, you’re absolutely right. See, the mindset or belief set drives our behavior.

Think about this. If we don’t believe that we’re good at something, how much do you want to do it? If I suck at golf, do I want to play a lot of golf? Right? If I’m not a good writer, do I want to write a book? No!

The first thing you have to do is be honest with yourself. This is where a lot of advisors get into trouble. They lie to themselves. They’re dishonest. They look in the mirror and see what they want to see instead of seeing the truth.

You have to ask yourself. Do I believe I deserve to be successful, or if I can grow or change? In this industry, it’s all about change. It’s all about evolution, right? From technology to compliance, to fees, the marketplace or what’s going on in our industry.

It’s all about adapting. If your brain is like, ‘I don’t like change’, or ‘I don’t believe I like change’, or ‘ I don’t believe I can change’ then you’re screwed. I don’t care if you’ve been five or 50 years in the business. You’re going to have problems, my friend. The belief set matters radically.

The second thing that matters is your value system or what’s important to you. Hear me out on this. Let’s just say, values are emotional states that you want. Let’s say you value freedom. Being free. Free to be with my family, to travel or not having a boss.

Related: The Most Important Investment an Advisor Needs to Make

A lot of people got into this industry because they didn’t want to be told what to do. They didn’t want to be in an “O.S.S.”. They want to have freedom.

As your practice, business or success grows, what happens if you do not evolve your model so you don’t shift and pivot and change? All of a sudden, there comes a point where every new client is a double-edged sword.

It becomes a situation where all of a sudden you’re working harder and longer and it’s now starting to affect your freedom. What most human beings do when their value system is about to get compromised, they sabotage. They procrastinate.

They stop doing the things that got them to a certain point because all of a sudden now, it’s not just a pure win. It’s a win and a loss because it compromised your freedom.

That’s why it’s so important that you always look at your practice and look at how busy you are, how many slots you have and everything. If your brain doesn’t say, ” I’ve got to pivot or adapt or evolve’, then you just can’t work it.

The first couple of years of your career is all about effort, energy, commitment, desire and getting it all done. At some point, it’s all got to pivot off of that.

Some of you just don’t know how to do it. You’ve never thought about that before and you’re just staying more or less the same. Rinse and repeat. It’s really about that.

If you’re creating a business model that violates your value system or what’s important to you, your subconscious will sabotage it as a protection mechanism. So, the question then becomes ‘if I still want to grow my income’.

I’m not saying it’s all about the money but, let’s say it is. You’re kind of tapped out on what you’re doing and this is why you’re frustrated. You’re sitting here, desiring more success, a greater level of economic abundance and to elevate but you can’t because you don’t have the model for it.

It’s about the model so much as your belief set on making that change. You have to look and say, ‘What’s holding me back?’.

Getting back to this whole concept of what holds advisors back from greatness. Practice management, marketing, podcasts, videocasts, and social ads are all important so I’m not dismissing them. But they are not the key differential to elevate.

I want you all to hear this because it’s important. Your current bank account is representative of your past mindset/psychology. Your future bank account will be determined by your current mindset/psychology.

Where you are today is a result of how you thought and acted in the past. Where you want to be tomorrow and beyond is all about your thought processes, belief sets, value sets, and psychology today.

Good news bad news on this. Unlike marketing, practice management, technology and some of the other stuff, you can stroke a check to the right person and get resources fixed.

A lot of consultants and coaches thrive on that concept. Stroke a check fix a problem. The mindset/psychology one is not a check stroking issue. 

While you have to engage a person, it’s not that simple. This is where my work starts. You have to be willing to, first of all, look in the mirror and say that your thinking or mindset must evolve to increase your income.

The question is, how to evolve it into what. That’s where I come in because that’s my specialty. It’s creating THAT plan or process. There is a way to take that mindset from A to Z. It’s work.

Unfortunately, it’s not just about stroking a check. You have to be willing to identify, do your morning ritual, wrap it, get a different set of distinctions, change your habits or behaviors and beliefs. Again, it’s not as easy as stroking a check.

Ultimately, that’s what’s holding you back. Intellectually, that makes little sense. To some of you, just by listening or watching this, it’s an epiphany.

Why won’t an advisor take action on it once they have identified the problem? It’s because their ego, fear, and arrogance get in the way. Ego- I don’t need any help or I’m good.

The funny part about my work for the past 25 years is that the advisors who desperately need my help rarely will hire me. I talked to somebody a couple of weeks ago who was 67 years old and wanted to see about hiring a coach.

For those who know me, I’m pretty blunt. So, I talked to him and after 30 minutes (which has always been my promise here), I came to the conclusion that he was not savable.

It was because I never heard him once say, ‘I screwed up’ or ‘I didn’t evolve’ when I asked him, ‘Why do you think that after 35 years, you are where you are?’. It was everybody else’s fault.

I told him I loved him to death and appreciate and respect him but I can’t help him because he was never willing to take responsibility. Ego gets in the way. Big time.

Arrogance means you think that you know all the answers. The funny part when I work with a client is that everything I talk about is just common sense.

Is there something earth shattering here? No. Then how come you haven’t done it? You know what you have to do. The problem is, you haven’t figured out how to do it.

Again, that’s where I come in. Let’s figure out how to do this. There’s not one way of doing things. It’s as unique as the individual.

That’s why when you go to training or a conference and you hear the people up on stage pontificate all their stuff half the time. You sit there and try to internalize how to make it work but you can’t or forget about it and you just rinse and repeat. We default back to zero. Arrogance and ego.

The third one, fear. Fear of change. When I look at my career, I don’t really think it’s that. It’s more of if I go down on this path and I fail. Where am I then?

People put that in their minds and say, ‘I don’t know what that looks like but I know what this looks like. It’s still sucky but I know it’. Familiarity. I’m familiar with what I’ve got and I’m comfortable with it.

Being happy and being comfortable are two different things. I’m not happy with what I’ve got but I’m comfortable with it. It’s easier to stay than to move forward.

You have to ask yourself, ‘What’s going on here?’. Again let’s just talk about the money for a second. For some of you, you may need to work harder. Some of you need to shift and pivot.

Only you know the truth. That’s where we get back to the conversation of ‘the man or the woman in the mirror’. Now, I respect that you can’t take responsibility for everything as there are things that may be situational.

If you sit there and lie to yourself and say that it doesn’t matter or that you can’t fix it or blame others and victimize the whole thing, hey look. Nobody said life is fair.

The ones that win understand that it’s not fair but they figure out their own rules and go after it. They don’t wallow in it.

That’s my challenge for you. In these podcasts/videocasts that I do, my goal is to speak from the heart. I have no scripts or no bullet points. I just pick a theme and I go.

I just go and whatever comes out, comes out. Quite frankly, I may be a minute ahead in my mind of what comes out of my mouth! Sometimes that may be a good thing and at times maybe not so good. But I will always go shoot straight with you.

You may not like it or dismiss it but that’s okay. I can’t help everybody anyway. If this makes sense with you and if you think I hit upon a nerve, come check me out.

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