We’ve all seen the headlines and ads claiming there is a secret to success, top tips promising they will grow your business and ensure financial gain. But nine times out of 10, these promises are empty gimmicks, or they involve more effort than they’re worth. In order to see any real results, you must buy a product or service, add more funds to your already tight budget, grow your team or learn a new skill.
But what if you could grow your business without buying anything at all? In fact, what if you already had all the tools you needed to succeed? Every agent and advisor already possesses the skills they need to be successful. It’s just a matter of looking within.
In business, we tend to operate from the analytical part of our minds, not our hearts. If more agents and advisors would lead from their hearts, their businesses could change dramatically. If you’re doing the right things for the right reasons, the money will follow. Our motivation should stem from how we can positively impact others, be the best versions of ourselves and focus on serving our clients.
So where do you start? These eight principles have transformed my personal life and my business, and I recommend them to all agents and advisors seeking more fulfillment in business.
1. Stay grounded.
First and foremost, it’s important to stay centered and grounded. In business, challenging issues arise that can trigger an emotional response. A difficult client, a stressful meeting, an impending deadline — all of these are examples of stressful situations agents and advisors face regularly.
When an emotional reaction starts to arise, it can be difﬁcult to get past it and see the situation for what it really is. Staying grounded and having a practice that helps you maintain a level of calmness allows you to not only diffuse the feelings of the moment, but it also allows you to remain levelheaded to make sound decisions and offer solid advice for your clients.
A few simple ways to stay grounded? Slow down. Take deep breaths. Get some fresh air. Meditate. Exercise. These practices take only a few minutes but make a world of difference.
2. Practice a growth mindset.
Sometimes it’s all about perspective. Do you focus on the negatives more than the positives? If you could achieve anything, what would it be? Start focusing on what could be possible for your business rather than dwelling on the obstacles and setbacks.
Practicing a growth mindset shifts the focus from scarcity to abundance. When you focus on immediate gain all the time, other possibilities may go past you unnoticed. Instead, look forward to what you want to achieve, and envision the clients you’d like to attract — even if it doesn’t seem possible right now. Leaders who have an abundance mindset focus on future possibilities and see everything as an opportunity. Refuse to settle for mediocrity. It is important to stay present and be able to visualize and feel as though you already have achieved your desired outcome.
3. Nourish your personal power.
We’re not talking superheroes here, or maybe we are? We all have something unique to offer to this industry, no matter what area we specialize in. What is your superpower? What skill or ability do you have that sets you apart from others? Take some time to reflect on what makes you uniquely you. Once you identify that, you’ll be better able to attract the types of clients you want to work with.
Nourishing your personal power also means taking care of yourself. When you have a full tank, you can give so much more to the other people in your life. It can be easy to forget how much our own physical and mental well-being affects our lives and the way we conduct our business. Keep yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy, and you’ll be able to better serve your clients.
4. Lead with your heart.
These eight principles all are tied to this core part of all of us: the heart. It may seem counterintuitive, but your heart has everything to do with your business. When you practice self-love, are confident in yourself and put your heart into your work, your clients, staff and associates notice a difference. That self-love — or the lack of it — spills over into your business and the way you interact with clients.
If you haven’t healed from a past trauma to your heart, you might be subconsciously spreading that broken-hearted feeling or pain to others without even being aware it’s happening. On the other hand, when your clients and prospects feel that you care for their needs, feel empathy for them and respect them, that goes a long way.
5. Speak your truth.
This is a tough one. Speaking your truth isn’t easy. In fact, sometimes, it can be downright scary — especially when what you’re about to say might go against the popular opinion or might cost you a potential client.
Speaking your truth means authentically expressing what you know is true for you, not only in business but also in life. It can feel uncomfortable to be vulnerable, but being the kind of agent or advisor who has the courage to say what needs to be said and offer honest advice to clients will pay off in the long run.
So if a client asks your opinion about something you know may ruffle some feathers, you must have the courage to express what you truly feel. Your clients may not always agree right away, but over time they will know they can trust you and, as a result, they will value your opinions. Remember: Your job is not to please everyone. You want to attract the types of client relationships built on mutual trust and respect.
6. Identify your vision.
When was the last time you stopped and thought about your vision for your business? If you don’t have a clear vision, maybe it’s time to check in. For example, if you want to write $1 million in annuity premiums a month, how many clients do you need in order to accomplish that goal? What’s your closing ratio? What’s your average case size? Take time to map out these data points to put your plan together so you can move forward in a clear direction.
Also, before that, decide what kind of client you want to serve, what your company brand represents and how you want to portray yourself. Once you identify your vision, you’ll be able to discern what does and does not align with that vision, so you can stay focused to achieve your financial goals. Your vision may shift and change over time, but it’s key to your long-term success.
7. Live your purpose.
Once you’ve identified your true vision for this industry, you’ll be able to live out your true purpose. Everyone in this industry is called to a purpose. Just because this industry has operated in a certain way in the past doesn’t mean it can’t evolve or change.
Strive to be different. Don’t feel as though you must go along with a certain way of being if it doesn’t match up with who you are. When you do something that’s not aligned with your vision and purpose, you won’t be fulfilled in the long run. The media tells us every day we aren’t good enough if we don’t have this or that, if we don’t look a certain way, or we aren’t this wealthy. Shift this paradigm and dare to conduct business in a way that’s truly authentic to you — and not based on what anyone else thinks.
8. Build a community.
Surround yourself with people who are cheering you on and supporting you. A community not only holds you accountable, but it is also an incredible asset for finding new business and networking. True, it’s a bit more challenging to build a community now due to the pandemic and social distancing, but there are still myriad ways to connect with others.
Start with your interests. What are some activities you enjoy? You don’t have to be all business. Join an online gaming meetup, a book club, an outdoor exercise group, a sports team or work in a community garden. Take advantage of social networking platforms such as LinkedIn or Nextdoor to get to know other like-minded professionals and your neighbors. You never know what could come out of the connections you make.
I describe these eight principles as part of “heart-centered planning.” Implement them into your financial practice and enjoy the results.