Becoming An Emotionally
Resilient Advisor: Is it Really Possible?
This is the Most Powerful, Game-Changing Habit
that You Can Develop, Starting Today!
By Jack N. Singer
With all of the adversity and challenges that go
with the territory in the financial services careers these days,
you may wonder if it is possible to develop a psychological
resistance to stress. Can an advisor actually learn how to be
resilient to stress? This article addresses an easy-to master
habit that will build your resiliency quickly.
A Typical Event in the Life of
a Financial Advisor
Your assistant informs you that your least
favorite client is on the phone, demanding to speak with you and
he is not a happy camper.
Does this sound familiar? I’m sure you’ve been
Would you consider this a stressful event?
Guess what? There is no such thing as a stressful
situation or event. You see, it’s never the situation that
causes stress, it’s you who decides whether or not you will
Groundbreaking research from the sciences of
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, The New Positive Psychology and
the Psychology of Resiliency have revolutionized our
understanding of stress and its roots. We now know that
experiencing symptoms of stress is certainly real and it can
dramatically impact your health, your emotions and your
productivity, but the bottom line is that you determine whether
or not you will actually experience stress, anxiety, depression,
You see, none of the emotions you experience come
directly from the challenging, disrupting events that take place
in your life. Whether or not such circumstances cause stress is
strictly based on what you tell yourself about those
The bottom line is this: All events and
situations are neutral until you engage in self-talk about them.
The good news is that can learn to stop your
counterproductive self-talk and move from feeling anxious to
empowered, whenever a stress-inviting event takes place anywhere
in your life.
Iceberg Belief Patterns
Your self-talk habits have existed from a young
age and result from the belief patterns you have developed over
the years. Many people are taught problematic belief patterns by
well-meaning parents and other key influencers. Unfortunately,
these kinds of beliefs usually lead to out-of-kilter, stressful
reactions. For example…
“If I’m not perfect, I consider myself a
“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 their
resultant self talk as “linguistic toxicity,”
always leading to stress related emotions, such as anxiety,
tension, anger, frustration, depression, hopelessness and
The Relationship Between Your
Belief Patterns, Your Thoughts, Your Emotions and Your
The Psychology of Peak Performance posits the
Peak Performance/Healthy Emotions=Talent +
Knowledge + Experience MINUS Distractions
So, as financial services professionals, once you
have the knowledge, the experience and the “talent”
to perform well in your profession, the key determinant of
whether you actually will perform your best and keep your stress
low is keeping those “distractions” to a minimum.
The number one distraction is counter-productive, stress
The Typical Event, Revisited
Let’s see how this new information modifies the
event described above.
“Your assistant informs you that your least
favorite client is on the phone, demanding to speak with you and
he is not a happy camper.”
Something dramatic happens the moment your
assistant informs you about this event. You have an immediate
conversation with yourself. If the conversation goes like this,
a stress response will result immediately:
“Here we go again. He’s always
second-guessing my investment decisions. He expects me to be
clairvoyant and warn him before the market tanks, so that we can
sell assets to take advantage of it. He’s going to take his
frustration out on me. I hate this part of my job.”
This is an example of “linguistic
toxicity.” But, you can choose a much more nutritious
form of healthy self-talk, regardless of the situation or event.
Here is an example for this situation:
“I understand that he is still confused about
the benefits of me having put him into in a diversified,
multi-asset class model so that he has his investment spread
across many asset classes. I recommended this diversified
approach precisely because of these market conditions. It’s time
for me to take a deep breath, be patient, let him vent, and
calmly put him at ease.”
Talking to yourself in a rational way and
sticking to your core investment strategies is crucial. You can
choose to live with clients who don’t get it, or you can
eliminate them from your practice, but do not beat yourself up
or turn their frustration into your stress.
5 Rapid Steps to Quickly Build
Here is a powerful, easy-to-master strategy to
deal with any stress-inviting situation.
Step #1: Recognize a habitual stress
triggering thought: “What if this client gets so upset
that he wants to fire me?”
Step #2: Have a fat (not tight) rubber
band on your wrist and snap away to stop that stress
producing thought dead in its tracks.
Step #3: 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.
Step #4: Counterpunch that toxic
thought with healthy, rational thoughts such as, “I can
use my creative thinking to come up with proactive plans for
my client, which will help them to feel safe even when there
are dramatic market fluctuations. I can add to the mix a
healthy dose of “active, empathic listening,” and, as Craig
Israelsen so correctly espouses, teach them how to focus on
our strategy for making healthy progress toward their goals.
In addition, I will show my gratitude to each client for
trusting my core values and will pro-actively work with them
to understand the reasons and research behind those
Step #5: 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.
Like any skill, practice makes this much more
fluid, but just like elite athletes, you can trust this method
to empower yourself to dramatically enhance your productivity
and reduce your stress.
Dr. Jack is the author of “The Financial
Advisor’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide.” You can order
your copy of this valuable guide by using this link
or by contacting Dr. Jack directly at (949) 481-5660.
To get every day started in the right direction,
regardless of your challenges, here is a link for a free
download of Dr. Jack’s 5 Step Mental Toughness Routine that is
used by professional, world and Olympic champions:
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advisors and his unique, referral-generating program for your
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