I think it’s almost a rite of passage to start a career and learn hard lessons in the first few years. Those that begin something and reach success very early on don’t have the same kind of grit and resilience that comes with setbacks, failures, and a bunch of almost-successes.
In my first few years in the business, I learned more than I ever thought possible. More importantly, I was able to take the tough lessons and turn them into fuel that helped propel me to some pretty incredible levels of success. No matter where you are in your business journey, these 3 major lessons I learned as a financial advisor are easy to apply and use right now.
They’re not things I learned to do; rather, their impact taught me how to be.
1. Starvation is a wonderful motivator.
After our family lost everything when my father died suddenly, we learned the importance of life insurance and more importantly, the impact it has when it’s not enough for a family of 7. Overnight, our family went from middle class to broke.
From that day forward, everyone in our family had to work. My mother needed all of us to pull our weight financially just to keep the lights on. I got my first job before I turned twelve. I earned $1 per hour as a babysitter. Every dime my siblings and I made had to be turned over to our mother so she could keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.
Her only income was her Social Security benefit. She received $88 per month for me and my sister, and a small benefit for herself. That was it. I remember my mother pulling me aside and telling me point blank, “If you ever want to get out of poverty, you are going to have to do it on your own. I can’t help you.” From a young age, I learned both the power and necessity of a strong work ethic.
I continued learning the value of having money as I faced both tragedies and triumphs. Money not only allows you to live more comfortably, but it gives you the freedom of choice. When you don’t have any money, you don’t have any choices. You have no choice but to work. You have no choice but to go hungry. That starvation – that need to eat, to provide, and to build was what motivated me to work harder than anyone else, and never let anything stop me from moving forward toward my goals.
In your business, if you’re not achieving the levels of success you want, it might be that you’re not hungry enough. You might want it, but you’re not starving for it. Once it becomes a hunger you can’t shake, you’ll achieve it without question.
2. Operate from abundance, always.
If you’ve ever heard the expression, your attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy, you understand that your perspective on opportunities is more important than ever. If you approach life with an attitude of scarcity, you’ll experience scarcity in opportunities. If you approach life with an attitude of abundance, however, believing there’s enough to go around for everyone, you will experience open doors and invitations around every corner.
When I first started my business, I met with a mentor who showed me exactly how he ran his business. Hal showed me how to successfully operate my own, and never saw us as competitors. As he helped me get my business off the ground, opportunities came to both of us and neither of us worried if the other was going to steal clients. He taught me a lot of valuable lessons in business building, but more than anything, he showed me there truly is enough business to go around for everyone.
Your business is only as powerful as you attitude. If you believe there’s a limited supply of prospects and opportunities in the world, you will spin your wheels in frustration, worried that you’re never going to make it. This stress is unnecessary and completely avoidable.
I’m so glad I took Hal’s attitude of abundance to heart. It helped me help others, and in turn, it came back to me 100-fold. Do yourself and your business a huge favor and adopt an attitude of abundance. When you see there’s plenty of food for everyone, you’ll never go hungry.
3. Always err on the side of generosity.
I have to mention Hal Burleson again, because his generosity of time, attention, and energy was pivotal in helping my trajectory early on. Hal would drop whatever he was doing when I entered his doorway. He would put down his pen and focus on my questions, no matter what. He was incredibly generous with his time.
That generosity made such an impact for me, I made it part of my business mission. I always gave more than I took. Knowing the value of getting help and guidance –especially when I didn’t know where to start– I made time for everyone I could. I would offer guidance and attention to prospects, team members, colleagues, and even competitors.
Because I believed in the abundance of opportunities and I wanted to help everyone I could, my generosity was consistently rewarded. Even in moments where I felt the conversation wasn’t going to help me grow my business, I still gave my attention. And you know what? Referrals came in as a thank you from those conversations.
You never know where your next big opportunity will come from. It may be a referral from someone you least expect, but it arrives to you because you are generous with your time and attention.
Now, please do not “fake it ’til you make it” with this concept. If you’re generous because you want referrals, and wouldn’t otherwise give people your time or attention, you will struggle. People can feel this deception. Be genuinely attentive and you’ll reap what you sow with referrals and opportunities galore.
I’ve said it before, but be the trusted advisor your clients (and prospects) need you to be. Your attitude, hunger, and generosity will help you build your business through any market, and in any community.
If you’d like to take these three lessons to the next level and get my exact blueprint for success, I invite you to check out the Elite Advisor Success System™ – a step-by-step business training program that gives you everything you need to build and successfully implement the right systems to grow your firm, even when you’re not in the office. I give you all my worksheets, scripts, plans, and models so you can serve more clients, make more money, and have more freedom.
And this program will allow you to copy exactly what I –an advisor just like you– did to achieve the highest levels of success. Rather than learning from a coach that’s never been a successful advisor, everything in the Elite Advisor program comes with my 30 years of experience in what works. Learn more today!