Let It Be
Having just logged dozens of hours watching the Summer Olympics and the US Open, I was (and remain) impressed by the mental fortitude of champions. Talent simply isn't enough to beat your competitors; it has to be supported with the right attitude and mindset to perform at the highest of levels. Believing in yourself is, of course, the first step. Without that, no one else will believe in you and the desired results will often prove to be just beyond your reach. Of equal importance, however, is the ability to shrug off the small obstacles that crop up in any competition-whether it's for a gold medal, a substantial purse, the recognition of your peers, a top ranking or a new, affluent client.

The athletes that dwell on the mistakes they've made, the points they've missed, and the unfavorable calls from referees and umpires are at a disadvantage. While they're replaying the scenarios in their heads or getting emotional, their rivals are focused on the situation at hand-and that small window of opportunity can be the difference between winning and losing.

What does this mean for you? In some recent research, we found that the most sophisticated and successful advisors are less likely to let disgruntled clients impact them negatively. But don't think this means high-end practitioners are avoiding unhappy clients and ignoring their complaints. Just the opposite is true, as these types of professionals generally don't shy away from client confrontations. It does mean that they don't take client dissatisfaction personally. Rather than obsessing over the past and enumerating the many things they could have done differently, leading advisors stay focused on making the most of present opportunities and preparing for what's ahead.

This uncertain market environment and weak economy has stimulated a lot of passion, both good and bad. You've probably taken your share of calls and meetings with heated clients already and there are no signs of significant change on the horizon. My words of wisdom for these times of trouble (with gratitude to Sir Paul McCartney and John Lennon) are to acknowledge your clients' concerns, then let them be. Move forward and put your concentration and energy into something that can deliver value to both of you.