I’ve always found it interesting that the financial industry shies away from ‘new age’ concepts like the mind-body connection, spirituality, and enlightenment. Because they’ve been used in meditation practices or in yoga, we somehow have developed the mindset that they don’t belong in the more ‘professional’ realm of financial advising. If you’ve read enough of my material, you know by now that I’m all for incorporating anything that will make you a more empathetic, present advisor. If that means you wake up an hour early to practice yoga and meditate to prepare for your day, good for you! But if you’re not quite ready to make that leap, I think there is one concept you can start working on today that will have incredible ripple effects throughout your entire life. That concept is mindfulness.
When it comes down to it, mindfulness boils down to two words: pay attention. You know how many of us are sleepwalking through life? We don’t appreciate the beauty around us, we don’t really listen to the people we love (or anyone else), and we don’t strive to see our clients as the complicated human beings they are. We also don’t pay attention to how our words, actions, and general presence are affecting others. We just keep bumbling along in a fog and wonder why things never change.
When you start working on being more mindful, you may find that:
Your wife is miserable at her job and has tried to tell you for years that if she doesn’t quit she’ll lose her mind.
You continually interrupt others and that’s why no one bothers talking to you much anymore.
You make a face every time your son tries to tell you he doesn’t love playing baseball and that’s why he continues to play even though he’s lost interest.
Your clients are telling you exactly what’s most important to them and their financial futures, but you’re so busy thinking about what product to sell them you have no idea.
It’s really quite amazing the information you take in once you make an intention to be more mindful. Without mindfulness, we cannot fully appreciate or utilize the other tool that is readily available to us if we just shifted our mindset: feedback.
Do you ask for feedback from your co-workers, clients, spouse, or friends? If you do, how do you react to honest feedback? Many of us think we’re asking for honest feedback, but our reactions tell a completely different story. If you act defensively or dismissively when you receive honest feedback, people will quickly get the message that they should only tell you what you want to hear. When this happens, feedback completely loses its value and can even become negative because it encourages you to continue on your current path when it simply isn’t working.
When you focus on being mindful, the feedback scenario transforms. You may notice that you frown every time someone offers constructive criticism, or that you continually ask for ways you can improve and then come up with excuses not to put that advice into action. Mindfulness allows you to change your reactions and empower others to offer valuable feedback that actually means something. It also deepens your relationships because the people in your life will feel more valued and appreciated.
When you begin building your seven-figure independent advisory firm, you’ll find that mindfulness and feedback can quickly become your best friends. However, you must recognize how they connect and that one cannot fully exist without the other. Once you grasp this concept and start utilizing it in your interactions with others, you’ll be amazed at the transformation.