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Three Powerful Take-Aways that Financial Advisor's Can Learn from Coach Bill Belichick

Scenario #1 : Your starting quarterback is ineligible to play for four games and your backup gets knocked out by injury. The only quarterback left on the team is a rookie with no experience in the NFL. For most coaches, that would spell doom. For Belichick, it means having the confidence to adjust to the circumstances, setting reasonable goals for his young quarterback and visualizing success with his plan.

Scenario #2 : Two of your high value clients “fire” you within a two week period. You question yourself, your confidence wanes and you fear that many more clients will follow suit. Your ongoing goal is to attract new clients and hold onto the ones you currently have, but because of these recent events, your self-confidence has taken a serious hit.

Visualizing Success

Most people fail to achieve their goals, either because in their heart of hearts they don’t believe they have what it takes or they sabotage themselves by engaging in chronic, goal-defeating habits.

Many professional golfers attribute their success to visualizing every shot before they make it, and many discuss how amazed they are at how close the shot actually came to what they visualized.

Coach Belichick is a genius when it comes to preparing in advance for adversity. He practices situations with his team well before the season begins and visualizes success. When he needs to fall back on those images, he is ready.

A wise man once said, “What you conceive, you can believe and what you believe, you can achieve!”

Whether I am working with elite athletes or financial professionals, I teach them to consistently visualize accomplishing their goals, in as much detail as they can. This exercise only takes a few minutes, and practicing it when you are drifting off to sleep will help it to be riveted in your subconscious mind.

For the financial advisor, examples are visualizing how you will feel when you increase your assets under management, and see yourself gaining more and more new clients. See yourself proactively working with your clients, so that they trust you and will have confidence in you, regardless of inevitable market and portfolio fluctuations.

By consistently practicing, your subconscious mind will actually embrace what you are visualizing, and help you to actually accomplish those goals and images.


I have worked with hundreds of financial services professionals, whose confidence is eroded by a myriad of challenging situations, including the following:

  • dramatic market fluctuations and the resultant complaints by their clients;
  • losing faith in their investment core values for clients, resulting in second guessing their recommendations;
  • feeling overwhelmed by the prospecting demands on them if they want to continue their success;
  • getting intimidated by aggressive clients and allowing them to remain in the practice because the advisor doesn’t want to lose the income generated;
  • getting overwhelmed by compliance and fiduciary changes and demands.
  • These are all examples of the adversity advisors face regularly. Their confidence can easily erode if they focus on the errors they made with clients’ portfolios, their lack of control of the markets, etc.


    Every advisor has a choice in dealing with adversity: He/she can reflect on mistakes and feel the stress which such thoughts produce; or, they can practice using “here and now” self-talk, shaking off yesterday and confidently looking forward to today and tomorrow. They can choose to go to bed worried about the negatives related to their practice, or they can visualize a successful tomorrow, based on positive self-talk and the belief that good things will happen.

    Coach Belichick undoubtedly has had his confidence boosted by his success, especially in circumstances where it is predicted that his team will lose, either because of key injuries, the record of the opponent, etc. The success comes from having a positive outlook, regardless of the circumstances and then seeing his vision of success come true.

    Like you, the coach has a choice regarding how to face adversity and what messages to give to himself. Taking a positive view of the situation is always the key to strengthening self-confidence.

    Optimistic Expectations

    Much research in the burgeoning field of “Positive Psychology” consistently shows that the patterns of how one reacts to difficult events, is the primary determinant of success or failure.

    Losing Tom Brady for 30 days is a great example of a “difficult event.” Coach Belichick had a choice in how to view that situation. He could have pessimistically told himself that the Pats would struggle in those games, or he could have told himself that he will come up with a plan for success, despite the loss of Brady.

    Advisors who embrace the attitude that unfortunate events, such as unanticipated and dramatic market volatility or world economic conditions are temporary setbacks and not indicative of their weaknesses as advisors are much more successful than advisors who look at negative events as overwhelming and as reflections of the their inabilities.

    Much research conducted in the insurance industry has shown that producers with an optimistic expectation, who quickly rationalize missed sales situations, for example, and see them as temporary setbacks, are much for successful than their pessimistic colleagues.

    You can learn much more about specifically how to move from a pessimistic expectation habit to an optimistic one in my book, The Financial Advisor’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide.” You can order your copy of this valuable guide by using this link .

    In short, dealing with adversity optimistically has been shown to be one of the most powerful predictors of success among athletes and financial professionals.

    If you consistently visualize future success and good outcomes in your profession, maintain a confident attitude that you can overcome any adversity and remain optimistic in the face of challenge, you will shake off the shackles of self-doubt and thrive!