Besides having to deal with the “life stressors” we all experience, such as marital and family challenges, the death of parents, chronic illnesses, and the like, financial advisors are faced with a multitude of potential stress inducers directly related to their profession. 

Many advisors find themselves overwhelmed by these stressors. Whether it’s market fluctuations, hostile and impatient clients, a difficult and demanding office manager, prospecting for new clients, or balancing work and family needs, advisors often tell me that they believe that the job controls their lives and as a result, they feel helpless and hopeless as far as mastering their stress levels.

In my success coaching with advisors, I find that teaching them a simple way to categorize job stressors can often help them to actually take control and manage them much more easily.

Categorizing Financial Advisor Job-Related Stressors

If you categorize situations/stressors affecting your life into four “types”--important/changeable, important/unchangeable,  unimportant/changeable and unimportant/unchangeable-- you can determine which stressors to work on and which to relatively ignore and let go of.

Many stressors will either never be under your control (unchangeable) or they are they are relatively unimportant in your daily life, so you can stop worrying about them. Let go of stressors that are unimportant (boxes 2 and 4 in the accompanying table) and let go of stressors you have little or no control over even if they are important (box 3).

Another Advisor Success Story

George was on the brink of quitting his advising job because he constantly felt overwhelmed by stresso--those inherent in his advising role plus those outside of work. Seeing no way to control those stressors, he was feeling helpless and saw no solution, other than changing careers. George and I broke down his stressors into the following categories:

George’s Important/Changeable Stressors

• Feeling pressure to build his book of business.
• Dealing with difficult and abusive clients.
• Working for a difficult and demanding office manager.
• Having constant due diligence concerns about fiduciary and compliance demands.
• Complaints from his wife about the amount of time George spends with his family.
• Feeling overwhelmed with self-defeating thoughts about his future.

George’s Important/Unchangeable Stressors

• Market volatility.
• The economic situation.
• World politics and terrorism.
• Unexpected family issues or illness, taking his time away from the job.

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