As an advice-based financial planner, your career will go through many changes. Though you may have a good idea of what you want your practice to look like when you open it, you’ll invariably have to alter at least some of your vision as the market, your clients, and your own inner growth evolves. Those advisors who hold onto static beliefs or who get too attached to their own version of ‘the way things should be’ will invariably suffer and be unable to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. These are the advisors who may refuse to incorporate new technology or fail to start talking to their clients about the soft sciences and they are most likely the advisors who will find their businesses starting to falter.
One of the keys to success in this business (and really any business) is to stay flexible and agile with your thinking and find ways to capitalize on the many different opportunities that may present themselves to you. Susan David’s recent book Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life argues that those who hold a core positive self image while being open to flexibility in our thoughts and feelings are not only the most successful individuals, but they are also the happiest.
In David’s book, she explains four main areas of emotional agility. If you display these characteristics in your practice every day, you will always be ready for the future—no matter what it holds.
Showing up, according to David, is not about putting your suit on and going to that networking meeting. Instead, it means confronting your own feelings and beliefs with curiosity and accepting them as they are as a way to learn more about ourselves. When you continually deflect negative emotions or bottle up feelings, you are not showing up and those feelings and emotions will likely come back to haunt you when you least expect it. Are you worried that you’re an imposter and that your clients will realize you have no idea what you’re talking about? Showing up means confronting these limiting beliefs rather than ignoring them so you can get to the root of why you feel this way.
It can be easy to get sucked into negative thought processes, so the next step in emotional agility is the ability to step out. This means getting some distance from our thoughts and feelings and looking at them from a place of detachment. This allows you to make decisions based on facts and results rather than feelings. It also helps you to not take everything so personally and get hijacked by intense emotions.
Walking Your Why
The third step of emotional agility is all about your core values and why you do what you do every day. To be emotionally flexible, you must have a strong core belief system and a solid self-image. This allows you to easily make tough decisions depending on how well they match up with your value system and gives you a good foundation to keep you steady in times of change.
David doesn’t believe in trying to make huge, sweeping changes in your habits or your life. Instead, she advocates a continual program of making small tweaks to your mindset and actions so they align more closely with your values, thus putting you on a steady trajectory toward greater self-awareness and success. This prevents you from getting stuck in ruts or relying on old information that may not still be relevant and ensures that you are always on the path to growth.
To be a successful advisor, you can never fall victim to a fixed mindset or be afraid of changes that could disrupt your business or your way of life. By utilizing the tips set forth in Emotional Agility, you can embrace the idea of becoming a lifelong learner and make efforts every day to becoming your best self. Have you read the book? I’d love to hear your comments on it below!