Through the years, I've had the privilege of sharing the stage with some of the best in our business. Sometimes, we enhance one another, each offering something uniquely useful and complementary. Other times, we're at different ends of the spectrum, and it has to make you wonder: Can there really be success in such polar opposites? Which one is right?

Yes, there are many ways to succeed in this business. The question is not which way is right, but which one is right for you. Which elemental bias do you want to accept and follow?

Of course, I was trained and accredited in financial services, but that is not my bias; personal development is. That's why, when someone suggests that it is simply easier to convince a client to start with investing or insurance rather than with a comprehensive financial plan, I'm unmoved. It's a basic tenet of personal development that to succeed at the highest and most meaningful levels, we must do what's best, not what's easiest or most comfortable. We have to ask what will make it easier for the client-not easier for the client to say yes and buy our products, but easier for clients as people with lives apart from our business with them. For me, every decision about how to conduct this business comes down to one question: "Will this make the client's life simpler?"

The question, "How can I make this easier for me?" leads you down a slippery slope. In the end, your business would revolve around incompetence, rather than what's best for clients. The business would tippy-toe around the weak spots in your performance and never demand that you get better.

"Don't wish it were easier. Wish you were better."


Business philosopher, motivational speaker

Another basic tenet of personal development is that adversity has its rewards. Every obstacle overcome makes you a stronger and better person. In Bicycling magazine, a recent article spotlighted the unbeatable satisfaction of riding in absolutely crummy weather, the exhilaration of doing something you don't want to do under lousy circumstances. I can vouch for that: Last March, on a rainy, nasty Sunday, despite the compelling urge to sit myself on the couch, watch sports and order in a pizza, I suited up for a ride. It must have taken me half an hour to get ready, with the tights and the gloves and the shoe covers and the rain jacket. But once I got myself put together, I went outside and rode for three hours in the dismal downpour.

There's never been a ride I felt better about.

What a perfect metaphor for our business right now! The market is challenging, to say the least. Investors are ruffled by the whole Enron debacle, and the nation is still rattled by the threat of terrorism. But there are those who are buckling down and getting the job done anyway. The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine, John Bowen, who is CEO of CEG Worldwide. He said, "You know, Bill, the money has really dried up for my consulting services, so this is the kind of year where we're going to have to make it happen, because it ain't gonna happen by itself."

"Winners make it happen, and losers let it happen."


Keynote speaker, motivational consultant

to elite athletes, human-behavior expert

John's attitude typifies the high performer: He has certain goals, and the marketplace isn't cooperating, so he's going to have to "make it happen." Granted, sometimes the marketplace does cooperate, and then everyone gets swept along in the momentum. But it's in tough times that you see the cream rise to the top, when those who don't have it in them to persevere and challenge themselves to an even higher level drop out and leave the best to dominate the field.

You can succeed in this market, no matter what appearances may be. Earlier this year, the Boston Patriots edged out the St. Louis Rams with what was arguably the most spectacular finish in Super Bowl history. Remember the predictions of a 14-point spread favoring the Rams? There were those who called the Patriots' win a "miracle," but if you ask quarterback Tom Brady, he will tell you that there was nothing miraculous about it. It took an entire team inspired with confidence, daily efforts to become even more competent on the field, and calm leadership with skilled follow-through when the pressure was on. Regardless of being called underdogs, they trained and performed like champions.

"How would the person you'd like to be do what you're about to do?"


Business trainer, speaker, author

Commit to being today the kind of person you are working to become tomorrow. When you get up in the morning and prepare for work, ask yourself, How would a top advisor approach this day? How would he or she dress? Or talk to people in the office? Or interview prospective clients? Or follow up with existing clients? And so on. Decide who you want to be, then become it.

© 2002 by Bill Bachrach, Bachrach & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. Bill Bachrach is the author of Values-Based Financial Planning: The Art of Creating an Inspiring Financial Strategy and other books. For more information about his services or to order his books, call (800) 347-3707 or visit the Web site,