I’ve already written about self-sabotaging behaviors, and how to avoid them. But today, I’d like to address the flip side of the coin: How you can actively develop and maintain a winner’s mindset.
I’ve known many hugely successful advisors in my time. And they all have certain traits in common:
- They take a proactive approach to time management;
- They don’t make excuses for themselves. Instead, they take on and eliminate or bypass obstacles;
- They surround themselves with positive influences and accountability partners;
- They constantly expose themselves to positive messages and ideas.
- They get help when they need it.
So here are five things you can do to help develop that winner’s mindset – and sustain it over time.
1. Take charge of your time.
Poor time management has killed more careers in this business than just about anything. Procrastination is the deadliest form of poor time management. But there are others. Diffusion, lack of focus, a failure to use technology or develop a system, distraction, and working too much on low-priority tasks can all contribute to underperformance.
To create a winner’s mindset, do what winners do: Take positive control of your time.
In my view, there are three keys to time management and eliminating procrastination:
- Make a schedule.
- Eliminate distractions.
- Schedule a success early in the day, and build on that.
Here’s a great lecture on productivity and time management from author and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson.
Work at it.
Don’t think managing your time is just something that takes care of itself. You can build good habits, of course. But good time management is more than good habits. Time management itself takes a bit of focused effort each day.
Winners aren’t just mindlessly executing good habits. Those good habits don’t create themselves. Winners embrace the effort it takes to manage their time every day.
See the difference?
The key to good time management isn’t habit. It’s your mindset. Good habits are the fruits of a positive mindset, not the cause. You can have bad habits and a good mindset. But you won’t have those bad habits for long!
So grab your time by the horns!
2. Stop making excuses!
Sure, there are going to be reasons why you don’t achieve your goals once in a while. The difference between a reason for failure and an excuse is action. That is, if you miss your goal, you take positive action to reduce or eliminate whatever reason for failure you can identify.
When you identify a reason for failure, and you take the necessary action to eliminate or mitigate it, you are embracing the failure, learning from it, and putting it behind you. An excuse, on the other hand, becomes a crutch. Worse, it can infect your thinking, and begin to perpetuate further failure.
Remember the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross?” Remember when Jack Lemmon complained that “the leads are weak?”
Yeah, sometimes the leads are gonna be weak. It happens.
Well, there’s two ways of dealing with that knowledge: You can shuffle along blaming someone else for the weak leads. Or you go out and create better leads for yourself!
See? This way, you aren’t relying on anybody else for your success. You’re taking control. You’re eliminating or mitigating a reason you had a bad week or bad month.
Then, you prospect.
And follow up.
Like a winner.
3. Surround yourself with positive influences.
This doesn’t just mean surround yourself with people more successful than you. It’s natural to be in the middle of the pack in your social group and peer group.
But winners make a conscious effort to associate with people who share a common goal. They also surround themselves with people who are rooting for and supporting their success, and who help hold them accountable.
The idea is to surround yourself with people with a passion for success and for excellence – from all walks of life.
- Professional associations.
- Your Chamber of Commerce.
- Your church or synagogue.
- Men’s clubs and women’s clubs focused on integrity and success.
- Take classes and workshops. In sales, or anything else that motivates you. Everyone around you has the same common goal. They can help fuel your success.
Put together a small group of likeminded people to act as accountability partners.
You’re a financial advisor? Find an accountant, a real estate agent, a mortgage professional, a human services pro, an IT business owner, an insurance agent and a contractor. The ideal is to have several success-oriented people to hold you accountable, and who will complement each other’s business.
Meet frequently to share and compare progress, your performance on important metrics. I like prospecting metrics that you can control, like calls made, leads followed up on, and appointments made.
Lastly, don’t spend much time with people who do nothing but shoot you down. Especially early in your career.
Tip: If you hear “when are you going to get a real job?” from the in-laws too often – or anyone else, for that matter — it’s time to schedule some more appointments. That way, you’re always too busy for them.
Keep that up for a few years, and you’ll be making so much money that they’ll stop asking.
4. Get motivational “booster shots”.
The winners I know get positivity refreshers almost every day. They read books with positive messages that build them up and help them improve. They seek out motivational and instructional/educational speakers. They expose themselves to positive messages. They watch great YouTube channels on productivity and self-improvement, and invest in coaching. They listen to motivational CDs and podcasts when driving around between appointments.
Doing this helps supplement the positive influences in our lives.
Don’t know where to start? Try these links:
- My YouTube channel
- Thomas Stanley and William Danko (Money management)
- Napoleon Hill (Wealth building)
- Jordan Peterson (Self-discipline, improvement, psychology and social sciences)
- Tom Hopkins (Sales skills)
- Matt D’Avella (Productivity and success)
- John C. Maxwell (Productivity and success)
- Stephen R. Covey (Productivity and success)
- Zig Ziglar (Sales skills and motivation)
- Amy Landino (Organization, productivity and success)
- Brené Brown (Psychology and motivation)
- Thomas Frank (Productivity and time management)
- Scott Friesen (Technology and productivity)
- Dale Carnegie (Interpersonal skills and success)
- Og Mandino (Success and motivation)
- Jocko Willink (Leadership, discipline, and fitness.)
- M Mateusz (Motivational videos, drawing on many great writers and thinkers)
- Brian Tracy (Organization and productivity)
- Dave Ramsey (Money management and debt-free living, from a Christian perspective)
- Mel Robbins (Mindset, psychology and motivation)
I’m dating myself with a few of these (thank you, Zig, wherever you are!). But these links should keep you busy for a while.
Tip: Don’t use motivational material to procrastinate! If it’s time to prospect, prospect. Watch the videos and read the books after you knock off for the day.
5. Get whatever help you need.
Now, some things are easier said than done. Some readers are dealing with real mental illnesses. Depression and anxiety are real disorders. So are Alcoholism and drug addiction. And if you have a mental health problem, you can’t just “snap out of it.” Make the call, and get the help you need. There are effective treatments available, and you don’t have to fight that particular monster alone.
Many tremendously successful advisors I know have struggled with one or more of these challenges during their own lives. Some still fight them, every day.
It can be done. But if you need help, don’t hesitate to get it.
If you don’t know where to start, start here.
Now, if mental illness, anxiety or substance abuse aren’t among the things holding you back, getting help still makes sense! You can still take advantage of the wisdom and skill sets of others.
Invest in the services of people who can help make you healthier, smarter, more ethical and more efficient. Anyone who can help you organize your practice, serve clients better, or help you become a more successful entrepreneur, husband, wife or parent is worth considering.
- Personal trainers
- Professional organizers
- Sales coaches
- Virtual assistants
- Teachers and tutors
- Financial industry trainers and subject matter experts
- Product experts
If the money isn’t there yet, make hiring the help you need one of your goals.
One final word: Don’t wait for New Years Day to make your resolutions. The time to start adopting a winners’ mindset that can transform your life for the better is right now.