How Advisors Can Succeed Sooner

When you’re in the midst of operating your business, it can be hard to know where to step next. Outside input can be invaluable.

  • Build a small list of people you believe could help you.
  • Email those people, asking for 15 minutes of their time and explaining why you’d like to speak with them.
  • Graciously thank those you ask for help, even if they don’t join your Board of Directors, and express your gratitude for the time and/or consideration they did give you.

Related: The Fastest Way for Advisors To Achieve Success


One of the best ways to save time and money and to succeed even sooner is to develop your own Board of Directors.

Last week I spoke about the need to have a mentor, and I was struck this weekend by the column in the Wall Street Journal—they have it every weekend—called Personal Board of Directors. . .

It profiles a successful business person mentioning the four people who have been most influential and helpful along their career path. There’s humility involved because the person mentions how they’ve worked with these four people to achieve their success. It really impressed upon me the need to get outside, objective help when you’re looking to succeed.

As a successful athlete, I had that with a coach. I’ll never forget when I was first videoed as a swimmer when I was 11 years old, I knew exactly how I felt in the water. I knew my stroke down cold. But when my coach videoed me with six other swimmers in the lane and four lanes full of swimmers, and we watched the video after the workout, I couldn’t pick myself out. I knew what my stroke felt like, but I could not identify myself. I simply didn’t know how I looked. I saw the importance of having an objective opinion, based upon exactly what I was doing in the water, that I couldn’t see for myself.

I’ll also never forget the day in 1986 when I came over to start a scholarship at UC Berkeley, and Matt Biondi, who held the world record in the men’s 100-meter freestyle, came to me in the middle of the semester. He asked me if we could get some one-on-one time early Saturday morning, just to look at him streamlining off the wall. I was floored! Matt held the world record! What would he want with me, somebody ranked in the top 20 in backstroke? But as he pointed out, he couldn’t see himself. He said he knew my streamlining off the wall was phenomenal, and he wanted me to take a look.

It’s been great working with our Fiduciary Foundations advisors and hearing them understanding the necessity for mentoring groups. And so, we’re connecting with more advisors who are seeing the need to get outside input into ideas and suggestions around ideas they’re considering implementing into their businesses. When you’re in the midst of it all, it’s hard to know where to step next. That’s why I want to encourage you to find a mentor or a couple of people whom you trust to have input into your career path.

So to do this most effectively,

  1. Seek out several people. Build a small list of several people. Look at these people and think clearly why you would like to have a connection with them.

  2. Email them. Ask them for 15 minutes of their time. Clarify why you’d like to speak with them in your email and see how they respond. I remember doing that with a well-known author who has written some top sellers, after I heard him speak. He came back very politely and said, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’m too busy at the moment.” I didn’t take offense; I simply moved on to find another person who might help me.

  3. Connect with them. Write them a thank-you note, even the people who didn’t come on board as part of your Board of Directors. Let them know you appreciated their time and consideration. And definitely thank the people who have shown you they are willing to have feedback into your life, they are willing to have input into what you are doing.

Remember, like I mentioned last week, when you get asked down the track, when people see you being a successful advisor and think that you’ve got everything together and they approach you to be a mentor for them, you can think back to the help that you have received from someone and gratefully, gladly help them along their way.

I look forward to bringing you another Distraction-Proof Advisor Idea next week.