I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage ‘The more you learn, the more you earn.’ It was probably pounded into your brain in college, or when you attended another ‘how to be a financial advisor’ course. The problem with this statement is that few people ever really put much thought into what they learn. A basketball player may think he’s putting this concept into practice by learning everything he can about his competition, about mastering the jump shot, or about conditioning. However, when you look at truly great basketball players and coaches, you see that their focus was much broader. Legendary coach John Wooden, for example, pushed his players to learn about friendship, character, and their potential as human beings. His quote, “When I am through learning, then I am through” describes a philosophy that made him one of the most successful and well-regarded coaches in history.
As a financial advisor, you may think the learning that will get you ahead is limited to the stock market, financial futures, or the psychology of sales. While learning about your industry is important, it’s the tip of the iceberg. As I mentioned in my blog about physical health, the best advisors are the ones who are well-rounded and able to mentor their clients on a variety of topics. As the new DOL laws begin to take effect, you will have to act as a fiduciary and a true advisor to avoid disruption. To achieve this, you need to learn about as many subjects as possible. Here are some tips to get you started.
Discover How You Learn Best
Don’t ruin your chances straight out of the gate by thinking you need to read three books a week when you can’t stand reading. The best learners are the ones who’ve done some introspection and know how they best take in and process information. For some, this may indeed be reading books. For others, it could be listening to podcasts and others may learn best by attending interactive seminars. Take a trip down memory lane and recall the times when you felt the most engaged when learning about a new topic, then try to replicate that experience as you explore new learning opportunities.
Decide What You Want to Learn
Though I mentioned above that you need to learn about as many subjects as possible, the reality is that there is a limit. You can’t learn about everything, so you might as well choose the topics that interest you most. It could be travel, philosophy, or world history (or anything else that gets you excited). The key is, learn it well enough that you can talk to clients about it. You’ll probably begin attracting new people to your business who have similar interests. When you’re able to give these folks behavioral-based financial advice, you’ll become their go-to advisor.
Create Margin in Your Day to Learn
We can say we want to learn more until we’re blue in the face, but if we never create time in our day to do so, the plan is destined to fail. When can you carve out 45 minutes to an hour to learn? For me, it’s usually in the morning before the craziness of the day gets in the way. For you, it could be after you put the kids to bed and you have some time to yourself. It doesn’t matter when it is, only that it’s time you can consistently count on to focus on learning.
What are your hot buttons? What makes you think and gets you excited about learning? How do you best take in information? When you figure these things out for yourself and carve out time in your schedule to learn, you’ll find that every area of your life—including that of a financial advisor, will flourish.
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