In my 33-year career as a Professional Sport Psychologist, teaching Olympic gold medal winners, world champions and professional athletes how to develop and maintain the “mindset of a champion,” I discovered 3 critical steps that lead to consistent winning.
Now that I have pivoted my career to helping financial services professionals develop the same mindset, the exact same 3 key steps apply. Understanding these steps and practicing them will certainly help you to win the “inner game” of success in your annuities career.
Champion Mindset Step #1:
Take Charge of Your Inner Dialogue
Proven Fact: There is No Such Thing as a Stressful Situation or Event that Takes Place in your Career, or, for that Matter in Your Life!
I’ll bet that statement raised your curiosity, didn’t it? In groundbreaking research from the Sciences of Positive Psychology and Emotional Regulation, we now know that experiencing stress can certainly impact your health and your mood, you determine whether or not you will actually experience stress. The stress you experience does not come from adverse, disrupting events that take place on your job, such as, the impact of the DOL fiduciary standard, dealing with toxic, demanding clients, or stiff competition.
Whether or not such circumstances cause stress is strictly based on what you tell yourself about those circumstances and the internal conversations you have about those circumstances.
As Andrew Bernstein puts it, in his wonderful book, “The Myth of Stress,” “Stress never comes directly from your circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about your circumstances.”
Situations and circumstances at work or at home can certainly trigger a stress response in you, but whether or not that actually happens depends on you…your belief patterns and the resultant self-talk habits you have developed over the years.
For example, many of us are taught problematic belief patterns by well-meaning parents and other key influencers. Unfortunately, these kinds of beliefs always lead to out of kilter, stressful reactions. For example…
- “If I’m not perfect, I consider myself a failure.”
- “My goal is to always please people, even if I sacrifice what I want, because I need to be liked.”
- “I should avoid confrontations with my clients, not assert myself, never take risks, and always fly under the radar.”
I refer to these kinds of beliefs and self-talk as “linguistic toxicity,” always leading to stress-related emotions, such as anxiety, tension, anger, frustration, depression, hopelessness and helplessness.
The Relationship Between Your Thoughts and Your Performance
The Psychology of Peak Performance posits the following formula:
Peak Performance=Talent + Knowledge + Experience MINUS Distractions
So, as annuity professionals, once you have the knowledge, the experience and the “talent” to perform well in your profession, the key determinant of whether or not you suffer from stress-related emotions and whether you can attain consistent peak performance is whether you can recognize and minimize those distractions (i.e., the self-talk habits that knock you down).
Put simply, the goal is to recognize thought patterns that trigger stress reactions and how to stop them quickly. You want to move from “linguistic toxicity” to “linguistic nutrition.” A full description of how to do this can be found in my book, “The Financial Advisor’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” but here is the essence of it:
- Recognize a Stress Triggering Thought: “My valued clients are not entrusting all of their financial resources with me. They must not believe in me and my investing values.”
- Have a fat (not tight) rubber band on your wrist and snap away to stop that thinking dead in its tracks.
- Take a few deep, relaxing breaths, in through your nose to the count of 4, hold it for 4, and out through your mouth to the count of 7.
- Counterpunch that toxic thought with healthy, rational thoughts such as, “I can use my creative thinking to come up with proactive plans for these clients which will exceed their expectations.
- Anchor this healthy thinking by once again taking a few deep, relaxing breaths, in through your nose to the count of 4, hold it for 4, and out through your mouth to the count of 7.
Here are examples of additional “linguistic nutritious thoughts” you can practice to overcome the toxic belief patterns you now recognize:
- “I don’t have to be perfect to service my clients well. I need to have compassion toward myself, rather than expect perfection, which is completely unrealistic.”
- “There are many people, including clients, that I will never be able to please. That is not a weakness in me. I
do not have to be liked by everyone in
order to be very successful in my career.”
- I will endeavor to assert myself with these people, so that I am not engaged in stress producing thoughts regarding these clients.”
- “I can learn how to assertively communicate with difficult clients, so that I am not intimidated. I will feel much better about myself and the clients will respect me.”
With consistent practice, you can quickly change your thinking patterns and habits and your stress level will dramatically reduce.
Dr. Jack Singer is a Professional Clinical/Sport Psychologist, author, speaker, consultant and “Success Acceleration” Mentor for financial advisors and insurance producers, He teaches financial services professionals the exact same skills he has been teaching to world champion athletes for the past 33 years.
You can visit his website here: http://advisingtheadvisors.com
To learn more about Dr. Jack’s e-course for financial advisors, worth up to 12 hours of continuing education, visit: http://www.developthemindsetofachampion.com