By JOHN MOSHIDES
There’s a reason aptitude tests aren’t the standard entry point into financial careers anymore: success isn’t based on a set of memorized facts and procedures. Instead, our success depends most on overcoming psychological obstacles, like the challenge of creating our own work, handling rejection and adapting to new trends and tools. Overcoming these challenges allows us to expand our horizons and push toward more ambitious goals.
Though our industry is inherently competitive, the best way to get past these psychological barriers is by collaborating with like-minded individuals. With the right professional network challenging you, encouraging you and engaging in healthy competition, you will create endless opportunities for personal career growth.
Network Away From Your Comfort Zone
Growth requires us to get out of our comfort zones – if we stay inside them for too long, we forget we are capable of achieving even more. Professional growth requires us to experience and learn from new perspectives, and the best way to do that is to work with people whose comfort zones differ from our own.
The easiest way to build that network is to meet as many peers as possible by attending conferences like MDRT’s Annual Meeting or EDGE. These events will provide you with innovative ideas on all aspects of the profession from sales to tackling regulatory changes to finding a work-life balance. They also will give you peer connections to help you turn those ideas into action. Don’t let those relationships start and end just at the event, keep up with your new contacts to create friendships and mentorships that can last your entire career.
Build A Study Group
Once you find advisors who align with your values and you’ve created an initial bond to know they can dependably encourage your growth, form a study group. Bringing a study group together with like-minded individuals creates an open forum to share anything and everything to help each other grow. They’re useful for advisors at every stage of their career, not just newer advisors looking to learn the ropes. Your study group will likely introduce you to new ideas and best practices for everything from sales and prospecting tactics, to office administration, and hiring other advisors. My MDRT membership let me find the right people for such a study group and gave me the confidence to join one.
It’s helpful to devote the first study group session to setting some expectations and logistics like when and where you’ll meet, what topics will be covered and how everyone will learn. While meetings can be as frequent or infrequent as needed, it’s often helpful to tackle different topics in each session. My study group meets twice a year, and has four types of meetings: a standard meeting to discuss client relations, practice management and our personal financial plans; one where we bring our professional successors; another dedicated entirely to office management; and lastly an opportunity to bring our spouses who offer their insights about how we can grow as advisors and people.
Find A Coach
Knowledge gained from our industry peers can help advance our careers by leaps and bounds. But outside perspectives also provide important insights on how we can find the most success. Consider finding a professional business coach. These coaches won’t necessarily teach you how to give better financial advice or sell more products, though their lessons may give you some ideas. Instead, they provide more universal lessons on running a business that will help optimize your productivity and make you a better manager for your office and your employees. Business coaches can also help you learn to use new technological tools, which is crucial to advance your business and reach younger generations accustomed an ever-shifting technological landscape.
It can be easy for even the most successful advisors to fall into the trap of allowing themselves to stop – deciding they are successful enough and don’t need to grow anymore. Surround yourself with people who will disrupt that line of reasoning, and you will find it much easier to continually rise to the challenges of a continually evolving industry, while achieving more than you ever imagined possible for your clients and your career.
John C. Moshides, CLU, ChFC, is a 35-year MDRT member with 13 Court of the Table and 14 Top of the Table qualifications and president of Moshides Financial Group. He was president of the Estate Analysts of Western New York in 2017-2018. He is also a past president of the Buffalo Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals and is one of only a few recipients of the Distinguished Service Award from the society. John lives in Amherst, New York.
This article is based off a member presentation at MDRT’s 2019 Annual Meeting. MDRT members can find the full script within the MDRT Resource Zone. To see more presentations like the one that inspired this article, MDRT members can register for the MDRT Global Conference in Sydney, Australia, taking place September 1-4.