Most advisors find that it takes more than courage to get past fear.
We’ve all been there many times in our lives: The moment where you need to make a critical decision that can alter everything from that moment on. Your mind and heart race to the point where you feel like you’re about to explode. Then one of two things happens: You make a decision and move boldly on with your life, or fear takes hold and with it comes inertia. Next, you’re feeling like the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, wondering where your courage went.
For me, it’s a feeling I first recall way back from when I was a 6-year old—my father insisted I was ready to ride my bicycle without training wheels. Sure, I was super cool and comfortable riding around our neighborhood on my hot pink bike outfitted with multi-colored tassels hanging from the handle bars, and the all-important extra set of training wheels bolted on the back. Although I knew in my heart that it was time to give up that added security, in my head I was absolutely terrified.
“What if I fall and get hurt? What if I wreck my bike?”
It’s interesting how all of the “what ifs” always rise to the surface and linger, only to stop us dead in our tracks.
I’m reminded of that day on my Schwinn (and so many other moments of consternation in my life) every time I speak with an advisor who desperately wants to make a change of some sort but feels paralyzed by fear. They share the words of the voices that ring in their head:
“What if I move and my clients don’t follow me? What if it’s no better than where I am now?”
The reality is that we all get stuck in the cynical “what ifs” at times. And those negative affirmations can be quite powerful—unless we choose not to let them prevail. It’s not until we force ourselves to summon up the courage that opens our minds to the more likely positive outcomes that we are actually able to shed those training wheels and move forward.
So how does one channel the positive energy that helps to drive courage? It all starts with addressing the unknowns. Consider these 8 important areas of your business life:
- Desire: Assess just how badly you want to make a change.
- Relationships: Look at your business with real self-awareness and rigorous honesty, focusing mostly on the depth of your client relationships.
- Potential: Evaluate your pipeline and likely growth trajectory.
- Impact: Consider how making the change might affect your life and the lives of your clients.
- Support: Surround yourself with those who can make the transition smooth and seamless.
- Adaptability: Be clear about your capacity for resilience and ability to adjust to change.
- Vision: Design a well-thought out plan for how to get from here to there.
- Knowledge: Get a thorough education on the landscape.
There are countless stories about advisors who start their exploration process feeling terrified, unable to defy the voices of dissent ringing in their heads. Once they focus and answer the above questions, most realize that what they lack is not exactly courage. Instead they find they lack confidence and trust in their depth of relationships with clients, their pipeline, and their ability to adapt to new and unfamiliar environments.
With greater clarity about your business, goals and options, you develop a greater sense of confidence. Then it becomes far easier to form positive affirmations in your mind to drown out the negative “what ifs.” So your mind focuses more on questions like:
How much will I be able to grow my business if I’m able to service my clients better and with far less limitations?
The reality is that no matter how much self-exploration and due diligence you perform, there are always a few unknowns. But staying put out of fear, while an option, is not necessarily a fulfilling one.
There comes a time when we have to take the training wheels off to move our lives on to the next level. So take the time to develop a true understanding of your goals, be clear on the pros and cons of a move, and watch the outcome of others who’ve gone before you. Then use that knowledge to help build your confidence, allow trust and courage to drive, and hold on tight for the ride of your life.