Financial planners can find themselves tangled up in their fears, which can limit any level of future success. As a professional development coach, I refer to this as the “teeter-totter effect,” where on one side sits anxiety and on the other sits results. It goes without saying that when results are up, anxiety is down and when results are down, anxiety is up.
So how does someone get off this ride? Well, action is the antidote to anxiety. Dale Carnegie is widely quoted as saying, “If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
There are many ways to take action. First, you have to make the decision that you are tired of feeling hopeless, helpless and/or fearful. Then you need to map out what action or change of focus you should be implementing. Create leverage for those actions or focus by writing down a reward or punishment that you would give yourself at the end of the day if you follow through (or not). Then, get going and do it whatever it is that you’ve concluded needs to be done.
You also need to be conscious that this process is ongoing and dynamic. You need to evaluate and tweak accordingly because as you move forward, what you’re doing now may not be what you need to be doing a few month’s down the pike.
Be Solid in Your Desire to Change
Change can be a frightening thing. The thought of the unknown can seem more terrifying than complacency. One of my financial planner clients was in need of change. Here is his story:
Aaron P. had over 40 years’ experience in the profession and was comfortable only working with his client base. He didn’t feel the need to prospect. However, as his clients aged, he faced the reality that his client base was shrinking and consequently, so was his income. One day he called me and declared that he knew he needed to prospect but after all this time, he didn’t know how. By letting himself get rusty, he had created a fear of rejection.
Take the time to determine your direction. In Aaron’s case, he needed to first conquer his fear of rejection by determining how valid that fear was. So, I asked him a series of questions until he came to the realization that any rejection that he might experience while prospecting was not personal. Rather, they were rejecting the value of his services. He needed a step-wise process so that he could ensure he was adequately explaining their value and his veteran industry knowledge. We mapped out what type of prospecting he would do, when he would do it, who he would call, what he would say and how he would handle objections.
To create habits, you must create leverage. Like Aaron, once you have a plan, you must have a strong enough reason why you need to follow it in order to get motivated, create momentum and have it become part of your protocol. In other words, you need leverage.
Aaron had plenty of reasons why he should prospect, his client base and income were shrinking. However, in order to pick up the phone and make that first prospecting call, he needed to have a reward to strive for or a punishment to avoid. Make those items meaningful enough and ensure they speak to what you would like to work for (or against).
Consistent action requires commitment. Once you have decided to make change happen, determined your direction and created leverage and accountability, you need to be consistent.
Aaron did just that. Within weeks he was filling up his pipeline again. When I asked him what he thought about his prospecting system, he said he wished he would have started sooner.
Why A Well-Thought-Out Action Plan Works
Following this approach can lessen your anxiety or eliminate it altogether. The reason why a well-thought-out action plan works is because it refocuses your energy to view things as opportunities, not challenges.
If you would like a complimentary coaching session with me, email Melissa Denham, director of client servicing.