Motivation and Inspiration: The Secrets of Adviser Success?

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It’s hard to say exactly why different advisers achieve different levels of financial success. Granted, defining success by production, revenue, profit, assets under management and other purely numerical factors may seem shallow. But like it or not, these are the benchmarks of success in our industry. Plus, it’s much more difficult to measure factors like client service or the adviser’s quality of life.

So, What Makes a Top Producer?

Naturally, many advisers are curious about the secrets of others’ success. A number of questions come to mind:

  • Do successful advisers work harder?
  • Are they smarter or luckier?
  • Is it a matter of favorable geography or good timing?
  • Did they inherit their practices from other successful advisers, giving them a head start?
  • Do good health and high energy make a difference?
  • Have they been blessed with especially effective training, role models or mentors?
  • Is it related to personality or internal motivation? Is the drive to succeed embedded in their DNA?

Although there’s no clear recipe for success, a combination of these and other factors likely comes into play. Without doubt, motivation is key. Some advisers simply want success more than others.

Sometimes, though, success might not be so much about motivation as it is about inspiration. What’s the difference? While motivation is the sheer drive to achieve our goals, inspiration taps into our underlying emotions to move us forward in a way that can feel almost effortless. In fact, inspiration may be the special ingredient that propels many top achievers to higher and higher levels of success—an upward spiral.

Finding Your Inspiration

Inspiration comes in many forms, but I find that I can always count on movies like Rocky, Rudy, Hoosiers and Chariots of Fire to deliver a powerful dose of it. Yes, these films are all about winning in competitive sports situations, but their lessons can be applied in any number of contexts.

Recently, I was struck by one compelling scene in Invictus. In it, Nelson Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman) asks the captain of the South African national rugby team (played by Matt Damon) a potent question: “How do you inspire your team to be better than they think they are?”

As you seek greater levels of success, why not turn that question back on yourself: “How do I inspire myself to be better than I think I am?” The formula for adviser success may remain elusive, but harnessing the power of inspiration certainly can’t hurt.

Joni Youngwirth
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network®
Waltham, Mass.

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