Most advisors believe that their stress is caused by the whole host of potential stressors inherent in their jobs, such as:
• Feeling pressure to build your book of business
• Maintaining your wealth management philosophies and strategies, while dealing with difficult and abusive clients whose lack of knowledge causes them to differ with you
• Working for a difficult and demanding office manager
• Having to maintain constant due diligence about fiduciary and compliance demands
• Inevitable market volatility
• The economy and the impact on it by world politics, terrorism, etc.
• Competition for client business
• Not having complete trust that your team will handle issues to your satisfaction
• Balancing work and family because of the time demands
Certainly all of these issues are present in the life of every advisor, but none of these issues necessarily causes stress! You see, the stress we all carry along with us is rarely caused by events and situations that take place in our work or home lives. Stress mastery research teaches us that only about 10 percent of our stress is caused by events and situations that take place in our lives. The other 90 percent of our stress is caused by the interpretations we make in our minds about those events and situations. The culprit is our self talk, which determines whether or not the situation will cause us stress. It goes like this:
• (A) A Potentially Stress Producing Activating Event Takes Place on the Job (e.g., the market tanks)
• (B) Your Beliefs and Self-Talk About That Event Occur Immediately (You might say to yourself, “Great, now I’m going to hear from my client, Fred, who always panics when the market tanks”)
• (C) The Consequent Emotions and Behaviors Occur (for example, feeling stressed, angry, hopeless, developing a headache and telling your secretary to hold all calls for the rest of the day, etc.)
The consequences of potentially stress-causing events are primarily determined by the belief systems you maintain and the self-talk habits you have developed since adolescence. The good news is that you can learn to recognize and modify any thinking pattern.
An Advisor Case Study:
Susan had been working in a large wealth management firm for seven years and found herself doubting whether she could continue in her career because of the overwhelming stress she felt in the office most days. For example, when clients called with challenging questions, she feared making a mistake, giving them the wrong advice, etc. Susan dreaded each Monday, telling herself that this would probably be another week that would be filled with difficult challenges. In short, Susan was on her way to career burnout.