Do you get up on Mondays, stressed about the markets, your clients, your fiduciary responsibilities, compliance issues, etc. facing you for the week?

Do you have a difficult manager, with unreasonable expectations, keeping up with the AUM of other advisors in your company, managing “impossible” client demands? Of course, these issues all go with the territory for financial services professionals. I consult with many advisors who get anxious, depressed and even burned out by the continual adversity they face in their careers. 

Because of my 33-year career as a professional sport psychologist, I love to study the “mentality” of athletes and teams that face adversity and thrive. What is it that gives athletes and teams given no chance to win the ability to overcome the adversity and rise to the occasion?

To put it simply, it’s never the difficult situation or negative events impacting your career that are your problem: It’s how you respond to them that determines your success. The ability to perform your best when it matters the most is the mark of a champion, in any profession.

The 2016 March Madness Upsets
Basketball fans were amazed last week, watching a plethora of major underdogs overcome tremendous adversity and drive to unlikely victories. 

As an example, 15th seed Middle Tennessee beat 2nd seed Michigan State, coached by Tom Izzo, considered the “God of March,” and a team picked by many to win the entire tournament this year.

How does one explain a less talented team or a less talented coach beating a giant?  It all comes down to “attitude.”  As the late Zig Ziglar, said, ”It’s not your aptitude, but your attitude, that determines your altitude.”

The good news is that you are in complete control of your attitude.  Much of it is determined by your explanatory style when faced with challenging situations. In short, people with an optimistic explanatory style look at adversity as an opportunity to succeed, whereas pessimists look at adversity as insurmountable, feel hopeless and psychologically give up.

March Madness Lessons For The Financial Advisor
Obviously, in your career, you will have difficult days, weeks, and months. 

Think about your mindset when you are faced with adversity, such as the markets going haywire.  The key is how you explain these difficult times to yourself. Do you question the investment decisions you made for many of your clients and worry that they will now be upset with you?  Do you question your core values as they relate to advising and planning?  Do you worry about bad outcomes, such as a client firing you?