In the world of athletics it’s common knowledge that what sets champion athletes apart from good athletes is not based on their skill, technique or strength.
The difference is that champions are more mentally tough. They have the ability to push past exhaustion, opposition and even injury to reach success. Perhaps you recall Mary Lou Retton’s heroic performance in the 1984 Summer Olympics, where she won gold in the individual all-around competition, despite having undergone serious knee surgery only 5 weeks earlier.
The key take-away here is that although many people may have acquired a propensity toward mental toughness genetically, each component can be learned and you can learn to adapt each principle to both your career and your life.
Would you like to:
- Thrive in the face of the daily challenges you face in your advising career?
- Bounce back quickly when dealing with difficult situations or clients?
- Get excited about prospecting for new clients, excited about making cold calls, etc.?
Each of these situations can be accomplished as you develop your own mental toughness.
The 7 Critical C’s of Mental Toughness. In my working with both athletes and advisors, I have found that there are 7 key elements that differentiate mentally tough athletes and advisors from those who struggle with the challenges they face. Each of these elements can be learned and through practice, can be put to use whenever you need the toughness to overcome any adversity or challenge in your work or life.
- Maintaining a Commitment to accomplishing a task or goal through to completion, despite the obstacles that you may face.
- Viewing Challenges as opportunities, rather than as obstacles.
- Believing that you are in Control of your life and destiny, rather than “outside” circumstances, beyond your control.
- Maintaining Confidence in your ability to succeed, despite all of the challenges you face.
- Remaining Calm in the face of stressors.
- Remaining Consistent, in your quest to grind through adversity and succeed.
- Being able to Concentrate and focus on the task at hand, rather than getting derailed by unexpected circumstances.
Tips for Developing the 7 C’s of Mental Toughness.
Overcome the “Imposter Fear”
To be a mentally tough financial advisor, you must truly believe that you can succeed in your career. Regardless of the status of your career at this moment, you must maintain an unshakable belief that with effort and consistency, you will succeed.
Some advisors subconsciously do not believe that they will succeed and it’s only a matter of time before they fail in their career. In short, they feel like imposters, faking confidence and fearing ultimate failure. I have provided a “cure” for this “Imposter Fear” in my book, “The Financial Advisor’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide.”
Focus on the Process of Being a Successful Advisor, rather than on the External Rewards
Mentally tough advisors are not focused on how much money they make, but rather on the quality of help they are providing to their clients and their families. When you focus on the “Process” of being the best advisor you can be to your clients, the financial rewards will be there. The internal reward is the satisfaction that you are making a real difference in the lives and security of your clients. Like athletes, when you focus on the specific details that contribute to your success as an advisor, the outcomes, such as winning and making a great living, follow.
Bounce Back Quickly from Setbacks
To be a mentally tough advisor, you must look at the inevitable challenges (such as volatile markets, unpredictable world events, toxic clients, etc.) as temporary challenges and rather than getting discouraged, find new ways to think and behave optimistically, as a result of these challenges. Believe that while you cannot avoid setbacks, you can deal with any setback, quickly.
Set Realistic Goals and Grind Through Until You Reach Them
Mentally tough advisors set realistic goals for themselves. Research shows that writing these goals down makes one 11 times more likely to achieve them than just thinking about his/her goals.
When writing down your goals, be sure to write down how you will feel once you accomplish them and especially important is writing the answer to this question: “What is the quickest way I can sabotage myself from accomplishing this goal?” Answer that question and you are on your way to overcoming the self-defeating habits that prevented you from accomplishing your goals in the past.
Be Aware of the Most Powerful Distraction That Will Erode at Your Toughness
I have written extensively in my blogs and book about the number one distraction that sabotages mental toughness, and that is negative self-talk. Mentally tough people recognize when they fall into that trap, eliminate it quickly and replace it with healthy, optimistic self-talk.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Most financial professionals encompass many of the characteristics of the “Type A” personality. Among those traits is the desire for perfection, considering anything less to be a failure. Again, I have written extensively about how to overcome this in my book.
Recognize that doing your best is all you can do at any moment. When you face adversity, understand that by grinding through and doing your best, you are building your mental toughness. With consistent effort comes the sense of mastery that builds mental toughness. Being perfect under all circumstances is not only impossible, but struggling to do such will actually subtract from your performance.
Maintain a Strong Support System
World-class athletes rarely reach their successes on their own. They put themselves in touch with coaches, mentors and peers who stimulate their mental toughness and encourage their professional development. Successful advisors can point to mentors they have embraced throughout their careers. Reaching out to those you trust and respect is a positive, not a sign of weakness!
Remember that all of the components of mental toughness can be learned and with consistent practice, you can certainly raise your game to world-class level. Go For It!
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